Sassi Riar

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FEPA: the New Tool in the DOJ’s Fight Against Corruption

On December 22, 2023, President Biden signed into law the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (hereinafter “FEPA” or the “Act”) which was passed by the US Congress as part of the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act.  The Act aligns with the current administration’s national security agenda in that it broadens the scope and reach … Continue Reading

UAE Court Dismisses Request to Extradite the Gupta Brothers to South Africa

In our previous post, here, we explained how the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) used its authority under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (“GloMag”) to sanction brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta (the “Guptas”), and their business associate Salim Essa, effectively barring them from the U.S. financial … Continue Reading

United States Departments of Treasury, Commerce, and Justice Issue “Tri-Seal” Compliance Note on Voluntary Self-Disclosures of Potential Violations

Earlier this year, we published a post on the first Tri-Seal Compliance Note (“First Note”) issued by the United States Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) National Security Division (“NSD”), the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”), and the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).[1]  When issuing the First Note, … 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

The Treasury 2021 Sanctions Review is Complete: What Next?

On October 18, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) released the findings from its review of the economic sanctions administered and enforced by its Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”). During the review, Treasury met with individuals representing hundreds of sanctions stakeholders, including Members of Congress and their staffs, the private sector, foreign … Continue Reading

OFAC Issues Updated Ransomware Advisory and Designates Virtual Currency Exchange

On September 21, 2021, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued an Updated Advisory on Potential Sanctions Risks for Facilitating Ransomware Payments (the “Updated Advisory”) superseding its earlier October 1, 2020 guidance on ransomware attacks and, for the first time, added a virtual currency exchange to the Specially … 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

United Arab Emirates Courts Convict Fraudsters; Warn Banks and Telecoms Providers

The onshore and offshore courts of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—that is to say, the courts in “mainland” UAE and the courts in the free zones of the UAE, respectively—have issued a number of recent convictions for fraud. In one noteworthy case, the Dubai Court held a local bank responsible for an AED 4.7 million … Continue Reading

OFAC Sanctions the Gupta Family for Bribery, Corruption and Misappropriation of South African State Assets

In an earlier post, here, we examined the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (“GloMag”), which was formally implemented by an Executive Order that declared “serious human rights abuses and corruption globally” as an emergency threat to U.S. interests. The President delegated his authority under GloMag to the Global Targeting Office of the U.S. Department … Continue Reading

Fugitive Diamantaire Faces Extradition from UK to India

A UK court recently fixed a remand hearing in the extradition case of Nirav Modi, a fugitive diamond merchant and the prime accused in a USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case. After Vijay Mallya (Indian businessman) and Sanjeev Chawla (alleged cricket bookie), Mr. Modi’s case is the third in a series of … Continue Reading

The Yacht Equanimity: a Symbol of Corruption?

This month, former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who served from 2009 to 2018 as Malaysia’s sixth Prime Minister, pleaded not guilty to three new money-laundering charges related to the alleged multibillion-dollar looting of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MDB”), a Kuala Lumpur-based strategic development company that is wholly owned by the Malaysian Ministry of Finance. The … Continue Reading

Iran’s “Trojan Horse” Bank

The Kingdom of Bahrain recently filed its statement of defence in an ongoing UNCITRAL arbitration in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (“PCA”) in The Hague against Iranian financial institutions Bank Melli and Bank Saderat. The statement of defence cites a Bahraini government audit evidencing a multibillion-dollar corruption scheme perpetrated by Bank Melli and Bank Saderat … Continue Reading

FinCEN proposes ban on Latvian bank

On February 13, 2018, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a finding and notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”), pursuant to the USA Patriot Act, seeking to prohibit the opening or maintaining of a correspondent account in the United States for, or on behalf of, ABLV Bank, AS (“ABLV”). Details of Allegations … Continue Reading
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