Financial Regulatory Forum

Authorities seek more AML scrutiny of L.A. fashion district as raid nets cartel-linked targets

September 17, 2014

By Brett Wolf, Compliance Complete

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Roughly 1,000 law enforcement agents poured into the Fashion District in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday morning to raid shops and arrest nine people suspected of using businesses to launder large sums of cash generated by drug trafficking and other illicit activity, the U.S. Justice Department said. The money laundering problem in the area has prompted authorities to request a formal designation subjecting it to greater enforcement scrutiny. (more…)

EXCLUSIVE: Private sector struggles to comply with new, sector-focused U.S. sanctions on Russia

July 31, 2014

By Brett Wolf, Compliance Complete

ST.LOUIS/NEW YORK, July 31, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – New and more narrowly targeted U.S. financial sanctions against Russia have created headaches for Wall Street as banks and securities firms struggle to comply, industry sources said. The European Union is weighing similar measures.

Exclusive: U.S. Treasury unit seeks to resolve suit challenging Patriot Act power over foreign banks

June 3, 2014

By Brett Wolf, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, June 3, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – The U.S. Treasury Department’s anti-money laundering arm is quietly attempting to resolve a lawsuit challenging its use of a potent Patriot Act power against a Macau bank as well as the constitutionality of that authority, documents filed in federal court in Washington suggest.
The effort by Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to avoid litigating the lawsuit brought by Banco Delta Asia (BDA) suggests the bureau is hoping to avoid a court battle that could weaken or perhaps even kill the extraterritorial power prized by U.S. authorities, Section 311 of the Patriot Act, former Treasury officials say.  (more…)

U.S. Treasury cautions Bitcoin businesses on compliance duties, advocate cites ‘chilling effect’

January 6, 2014

By Brett Wolf, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Jan.6 (Thomson Reuters Accelus)  – The U.S. Treasury Department’s anti-money laundering unit has mailed roughly a dozen letters to businesses linked to the digital currency Bitcoin warning they may be money transmitters and be required to comply with federal law and regulation, a Treasury spokesman told Compliance Complete.

Wall Street’s hot hire: anti-money laundering compliance officers

October 14, 2013

By Aruna Viswanatha and Brett Wolf, Thomson Reuters Reporting Team

NEW YORK, Oct. 14 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – The kings of Wall Street used to be the traders and investment bankers who said yes to big deals and big trades, but today’s power brokers increasingly are the compliance officers who quite often say no to risky proposals.

U.S. Treasury’s know-your-customer proposal delayed by struggle for regulatory consensus

September 30, 2013

By Brett Wolf, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – A months-long delay in the release of a know-your-customer rule proposal that would have an impact across the financial industry is the result of the U.S. Treasury Department’s inability to reach a consensus with regulators on key details of the measure, sources familiar with the matter say.
Rob Rowe, a lawyer with the American Bankers Association’s Center for Legal and Regulatory Compliance, said “a number of bankers have asked about the status of the proposal.” (more…)

New U.S. prosecution easing on marijuana does not cut laundering risk for banks, sources say

September 6, 2013

By Brett Wolf, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Sept. 6 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – A Justice Department memorandum circulated last week that gave U.S. states leeway to experiment with pot legalization failed to address the provision of financial services to marijuana dispensaries, which suggests the Obama administration still is not prepared to allow money from state-recognized pot sales to flow into banks and other financial institutions, money-laundering policy experts said.

CORRECTED: Bank regulators globally add AML to safety and soundness issues

July 8, 2013

By Nick Paraskeva, for Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, July 8 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Bank regulators around the globe are increasingly focusing on anti-money laundering (AML) and operational risks as part of their role in overseeing institutional safety and soundness. This follows huge enforcement fines imposed on systemically important banks by regulators and justice ministries. It also reflects a concern that any attendant hit on a bank’s reputation could affect its ability to obtain short-term funding or trade other than on a fully-secured basis.

Federal judge approves HSBC deferred prosecution agreement

July 3, 2013

By Brett Wolf, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, July 3 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – A U.S. federal judge has approved the Deferred Prosecution Agreement in which British banking giant HSBC will pay $1.9 billion to regulators and the Justice Department for operating with anti-money laundering weaknesses that among other things allowed drug cartels to launder hundreds of millions of dollars. (more…)

Retraction of global correspondent banking networks challenges financial-crime risk management

July 2, 2013

By Kim R. Manchester, Contributing author for Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, July 2 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Global correspondent banks have faced numerous challenges since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, including heavy scrutiny by regulators on money-laundering and terrorism-financing defenses, shrinking transaction volumes, slashed profit margins and risk parameters that defy rational measurement. A Financial Times report on how global correspondent banks are clawing back the reach of their correspondent banking network operations and trimming respondent banks from their client lists comes as no surprise to the casual observer of international banking.