Anti-money laundering

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The Price Cap on Russian Oil – Part 1: Increased OFAC Enforcement

In June 2022, the Group of Seven (“G7”) countries—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—decided to pursue a policy to cap the price of Russian oil. In December 2022, the G7 countries, joined by Australia and the supranational European Union (together, the “Price Cap Coalition”) officially implemented measures to ban … Continue Reading

Increased Corporate Transparency in the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory, has long been recognized as one of the world’s leading providers of institutionally focused financial services and a preferred destination for the structuring and domiciling of sophisticated and specialized financial services products, particularly investment funds.  However, for a number of reasons, the inherent risks to the Cayman Islands’ … Continue Reading

The UAE Exits FATF’s Grey List

The authors wish to thank Molly McKenna for her contributions to this post. On February 23, 2024, the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) removed the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) from its list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring (the “Grey List”).  As noted in our previous article (see here), FATF had intimated at its October 2023 … Continue Reading

The SDNY Whistleblower Pilot Program Within the Framework of Corporate Criminal Enforcement

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York recently announced a policy—called the “SDNY Whistleblower Pilot Program”—that seeks to encourage individuals to voluntarily disclose financial crimes in which they themselves participated. First unveiled in January 2024 and then revised this month, the policy sets forth the circumstances under which SDNY says … Continue Reading

Recent Changes to FATF’s “Grey List”; Could the UAE be Next Off the List?

Between October 25 and October 27, 2023, the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”), an international policy-making and standard-setting body dedicated to combating money laundering and terrorist financing, held its third plenary meeting of the year (the “October Plenary”), at which it made important updates to its list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring, often externally referred … Continue Reading

FinCEN Penalizes Puerto Rican Bank for BSA Violations in First Enforcement Action Involving the “Gap Rule”

On September 15, 2023, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) announced a $15 million civil money penalty against a Puerto Rican International Banking Entity (“IBE”), Bancrédito International Bank and Trust Corporation (“Bancrédito” or “the Bank”).  The public consent order details the Bank’s multiple violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”), … Continue Reading

FCA Investigates Bank Account Closures, Including for PEP Customers

Following concerns raised by the government of the United Kingdom (“UK”) about freedom of expression and the provision of banking services, the UK’s financial watch dog, the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), recently commenced an investigation into bank account closures.  This action follows in the wake of recent reports of banks allegedly closing customer accounts based … Continue Reading

New UAE Rule Regarding the Mandatory Attestation of Import Invoices Could Help Combat TBML

The United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) has recently implemented a new compliance requirement related to the international importation of goods.  Specifically, pursuant to UAE Cabinet Resolution No. 38 of 2022 on the Attestation of Documents, Commercial Invoices and Certificates of Origin at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (“MoFAIC”), all imports into the UAE … Continue Reading

Congress Continues to Expand Bank Secrecy Act Whistleblower Program

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 amended the Bank Secrecy Act’s whistleblower provisions, setting a floor on the monetary award a whistleblower may receive, allowing whistleblowers to receive awards relating to successful enforcement of certain economic sanctions statutes such as the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and establishing a fund from which to pay whistleblowers.  Following … Continue Reading

Welcome to Global Investigations & Compliance Review

This year has brought remarkable change around the globe – including new administrations, changing regulatory approaches, conflicts, and rapidly evolving global sanctions. Staying on top of how these changes impact businesses, individuals and sovereign entities is a challenge that Squire Patton Boggs’ Government Investigations & White Collar team is dedicated to helping our clients manage. … Continue Reading

OFAC Announces Settlement with Virtual Currency Exchange Kraken

On November 28, 2022, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced a settlement agreement with Payward, Inc., known as Kraken (“Kraken”), a United States-based virtual currency exchange. Kraken agreed to pay $362,158.70 to resolve its potential civil liability for 826 apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (“Apparent Violations”). The settlement amount … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Extends Territorial Reach of Wire Fraud Statute

The United States may prosecute foreign fraudsters using U.S. wires when their entirely foreign-based schemes use U.S. wires to victimize persons in the United States. That is the conclusion we draw from the Fourth Circuit’s decision in United States v Elbaz. The Elbaz court joined the Ninth Circuit in holding that the wire-fraud statute’s focus … Continue Reading

Corporate Transparency Act – FinCEN Issues Final Rule for Beneficial Ownership Reporting

We recently shared an alert covering The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA), which became law on January 1, 2021. The NDAA included significant reforms to the U.S. anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism regime. Division F of the NDAA consists of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, which includes … Continue Reading

Illicit Financing Risks in the Digital Assets Space: Department of the Treasury Releases Three Reports on Digital Assets and Invites Comment

On September 16, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) published three reports in response to a March 2022 Executive Order concerning the development of digital assets.  The reports address the future of money and payments; implications for consumers, investors, and businesses; and the illicit financing risks of digital assets.  Secretary Yellen described the … Continue Reading

OFAC Sanctions Virtual Currency Mixer “Tornado Cash”

On August 8, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) sanctioned virtual currency mixer Tornado Cash for having laundered more than USD 7 billion worth of virtual currency since its founding in 2019.  This includes over USD 455 million worth of stolen virtual currency associated with the Lazarus Group, … Continue Reading

Wolfsberg Group Releases Guidance on Negative News Screening

The Wolfsberg Group, an association of thirteen global banks which develops frameworks and guidance for the management of financial crime risks, particularly with respect to KYC, AML, and CFT policies, recently released a set of frequently asked questions on negative news screening and other forms of adverse information searches. Negative news screening can assist financial … Continue Reading

FinCEN Requests Public Comments on Potential No-Action Letter Process

Thanks to our Summer Associate, Apollo Yong, for his work on this timely blog. On June 6, 2022, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANPRM”), requesting public comment on questions related to FinCEN’s implementation of a no-action letter process.[1] … Continue Reading

What Price Privacy? UK Drive For Foreign Owners’ Transparency

I wanted to take a moment to thank WealthBriefing.com for featuring my recent article “What Price Privacy?  UK Drive for Foreign Owners’ Transparency”. As the geopolitical landscape evolves and global financial sanctions take hold,  the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill introduced into UK law this month is worth reviewing.  Will the new legislation prevent … Continue Reading

The Fine Art of Money Laundering: The Treasury Department’s Study on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in the Art Trade

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (“NDAA”) became law early in 2021, after a congressional override of then-President Trump’s veto. Division F of the NDAA consists of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (“AMLA”). The AMLA expands numerous Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) requirements, and amends the BSA’s definition of “financial institution” to include persons … Continue Reading

Proposed FinCEN Pilot Program on Sharing of Suspicious Activity Reports with Foreign Affiliates

On January 25, 2022, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued its anticipated Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking public comment on a proposed pilot program that would permit certain financial institutions to share suspicious activity reports (“SARs”) and information related to SARs with the institutions’ foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates (the “NPRM”). The proposed rule is … Continue Reading

Central Bank Guidance to UAE Financial Institutions Banking Cash-Intensive Businesses

The Central Bank of the UAE (“CBUAE”) has issued new guidance (the “Guidance”) to UAE financial institutions providing services to cash-intensive businesses. The specific characteristics of cash—anonymity, interchangeability, and transportability—make it an attractive medium for illicit actors seeking to obfuscate the proceeds of crime or the funding of terrorism.  Unlike other monetary instruments, such as … Continue Reading

Anti-Money Laundering Act Update: One Year In

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 became law early in 2021, after a congressional override of then-President Trump’s veto.  Division F of the NDAA consists of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (“AMLA”).  The AMLA expands numerous Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) requirements, and FinCEN has continued to issue guidance, reports, and proposed … Continue Reading

The Biden Administration Announces Strategy to Combat Global Corruption

On December 6, 2021, the White House (the “WH”) released the first United States Strategy on Countering Corruption (the “Strategy”) that sets the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals to tackle international corruption. Much of the Strategy remains currently aspirational and requires additional legislative and regulatory action to implement. Still, it signals the direction the Administration is looking … Continue Reading

UAE’s New Executive Office of AML/CFT and Dubai’s New Specialized Money Laundering Court

On August 22, 2021, at the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai Courts announced the establishment of a specialized new court that will focus on combating money laundering.  The announcement comes just months after the UAE Cabinet approved … Continue Reading
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