anti-money laundering

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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

Anti-Money Laundering Act Update: Six Months In

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (“NDAA”) became law earlier this year, 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 been active in the first sixth … Continue Reading

FinCEN and Federal Reserve Seek Comments on Proposed Amendments to the Recordkeeping and Travel Rules

On October 23, 2020, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the ‘‘Board’’) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) (collectively, the “Agencies”) issued a joint Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) soliciting public comment on questions relating to potential amendments to Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) regulations. The proposed … Continue Reading

FinCEN Imposes First of its Kind Civil Penalty against Cryptocurrency Money Service Business

On October 19, 2020, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released its assessment of a $60 million civil monetary penalty against the operator of two cryptocurrency “mixers” for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”).[1] The action marks the first effort by FinCEN to target the use of these “mixers” to facilitate money laundering and … Continue Reading

4 Compliance Tips Amid Increased Ransomware Scrutiny

In light of two new US Treasury Department advisories signaling increased oversight of ransomware payments, victim companies and their third-party response teams considering making payments should follow certain due diligence and compliance best practices, write Colin Jennings, Ericka Johnson, Dylan Yépez and Elizabeth Weil Shaw in an article for Law360.… Continue Reading

Cryptocurrency Exchange and its Executives Face Allegations of Failing to Maintain an Adequate AML Program

Two U.S. authorities recently announced actions against four individuals and numerous entities associated with BitMEX, an online trading platform for futures contracts and other derivative products tied to the value of cryptocurrencies.  Both actions allege that BitMEX failed to put in place required anti-money laundering programs and procedures, and serve as a reminder that institutions … Continue Reading

FinCEN Director Blanco Encourages Increased Communication During Global Pandemic

In remarks to the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (“ACAMS”), Kenneth A. Blanco, the Director of the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), covered a number of high-priority topics, including FinCEN’s response to the pandemic, the latest COVID-19 related fraud schemes, emerging cyber threats, virtual currency issues, and important regulatory updates.  A theme … Continue Reading

The White House Directs Federal Agencies to Focus on Fairness in Investigations and Enforcement

On May 19, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump signed Executive Order 13924, to provide regulatory relief for entities economically impacted by the pandemic.  Section 6 of the Executive Order directed agencies to revise their procedures and practices in administrative investigations and enforcement in light of certain enumerated principles of fairness.  It … Continue Reading

FinCEN’s New Rule Impacts Banks Lacking a Federal Functional Regulator

On September 14, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a final rule  (“Rule”) requiring the minimum standards for anti-money laundering programs for certain institutions lacking a Federal functional regulator.  The Rule applies to banks that lack a Federal functional regulator, including, but not limited to, private banks, privately … Continue Reading

Responding to Financial Crime Risks during COVID-19

Over the past few months, numerous organizations and agencies—including the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, UK Financial Conduct Authority, Dubai Financial Services Authority, and U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network—have stressed the need to preserve the integrity and security of the global payments system during and after the pandemic.… Continue Reading
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