Financial Regulatory Forum

EXCLUSIVE: Public face of controversial AML rule-making effort to leave U.S. Treasury Department

A top U.S. Treasury Department anti-laundering official who has played a key role in the development of a controversial proposal to require banks and broker-dealers to better know their customers is leaving the department. Friday will be his last day. (more…)

ACCELUS SUMMIT: FATCA compliance is a manageable challenge, but deadlines loom

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, May 2 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – A U.S. law to improve tax compliance by U.S. taxpayers with foreign financial assets is creating confusion for foreign financial institutions that must cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service to help enforce the law.

The law, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, requires U.S. taxpayers with certain foreign financial assets and offshore accounts to report the assets to the Internal Revenue Service.  (more…)

Less drug-money traffic at HSBC may mean more risk for other banks in U.S.

By Brett Wolf, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Dec. 13 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – HSBC was a hotspot for Mexican drug traffickers trying to launder the proceeds of their illicit U.S. sales during the 2000s, as suggested by a Senate report released in July and verified by a deferred prosecution agreement announced by the Justice Department on Tuesday. But now that the British banking giant has been forced to take steps to clean up its anti-money laundering act, Mexican cartels are making moves that may mean more risk for other banks, sources said.

Eager to move cash through the teller windows of HSBC’s Mexico unit in the largest amounts possible — sometimes as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars per day — drug traffickers designed specially shaped boxes, a document released by the Justice Department on Tuesday states. Once the cash was in HSBC accounts, brokers wired it to exporters in New York City and elsewhere in the United States as payment for goods destined for Colombian businesses, according to a”statement of facts” that was filed in federal court in Brooklyn along with a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA). (more…)

Anti-laundering officers and regulatory official call for U.S. guidance on banking marijuana businesses

By Brett Wolf

ST. LOUIS/NEW YORK, (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Anti-money laundering officers and a top official with a federal banking regulator on Monday called on the U.S. Treasury and Justice departments to clarify for banks whether they can provide services to marijuana businesses.

These calls to action, which were offered during a discussion panel at an anti-money laundering conference in the U.S. capital were prompted by the ballot measures that last week made Colorado and Washington state the first states to permit recreational marijuana sale and use.  (more…)

U.S. Treasury to lead review of anti-money laundering rules

By Brett Wolf

ST. LOUIS/NEW YORK, (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – The Obama administration will review a sprawling net of anti-money laundering rules and seek to correct “gaps, redundancies or inefficiencies,” in the U.S. system now more than 40 years old, the Treasury Department’s top official overseeing the issue said on Monday.

David Cohen, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the department had launched an anti-money laundering task force along with federal regulators and law enforcement agencies. The initiative comes as federal authorities crack down harder on anti-money laundering lapses, with high profile cases against financial institutions. (more…)

U.S. Justice Department eyes compliance lapses in next era of money-laundering cases

By Aruna Viswanatha and Brett Wolf

NEW YORK, Sept. 4 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The U.S. Department of Justice is shifting its sights to a new offensive in combating money laundering: bringing criminal charges against banks and other financial institutions for weak compliance systems that fail to catch illicit money flows.

Even while the department’s money-laundering unit is wrapping up a series of blockbuster cases involving sanctions-busting transactions routed through some of Europe’s biggest banks, it has set its sights on the next front. (more…)

Compliance lessons: U.S. Senate report on HSBC AML failings

By Susannah Hammond

LONDON/NEW YORK, July 20 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The United States Senate Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations has published a report into U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing using HSBC Group plc as a case history. The report does not detail enforcement action taken, though there are several likely fines being considered by a number of U.S. authorities regarding HSBC’s anti-money laundering (AML) failings; it is however a valuable insight into the operations and associated compliance, risk and AML issues arising in a global financial services firm.  (more…)

U.S. bank regulator promises better enforcement following scathing congressional report into HSBC AML failures

By Brett Wolf

WASHINGTON, July 18 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - After widespread anti-money laundering (AML) failures at HSBC that continued for years due to lax regulatory oversight, a U.S. bank regulator has vowed to take a broader view of institutions’ compliance programs during examinations.

“The agency was much too slow in responding and addressing what are significant weaknesses or violations at this institution. Going forward, I would hope that we would be much more nimble and take into account the entire picture,” Thomas Curry, who took over as Comptroller of the Currency less than four months ago, said on Tuesday during a hearing by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. (more…)

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