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Articles and News of Interest on Anti-Money Laundering

Read the latest news and updates gathered from a variety of agencies to keep you up to speed in the anti-money laundering world.

FinCEN Issues Advisory on the FATF-Identified Jurisdictions with AML/CFT Deficiencies
FinCen | March 25, 2014
“The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today issued an advisory regarding the Financial Action Task Force’s updated list of jurisdictions with strategic anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing deficiencies.”

Remarks From Under Secretary of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen on “Addressing the Illicit Finance Risks of Virtual Currency” 
U.S. Department of Treasury | March 18, 2014
“David Cohen, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, delivered remarks this morning on virtual currency at an event in New York City.”

FinCEN Publishes Two Rulings on Virtual Currency Miners and Investors
FinCEN | January 30, 2014
“The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today published two administrative rulings, providing additional information on whether a person’s conduct related to convertible virtual currency brings them within the Bank Secrecy Act’s (BSA) definition of a money transmitter. The first ruling states that, to the extent a user creates or “mines” a convertible virtual currency solely for a user’s own purposes, the user is not a money transmitter under the BSA. The second states that a company purchasing and selling convertible virtual currency as an investment exclusively for the company’s benefit is not a money transmitter. The rulings further interpret FinCEN’s March 18, 2013 Guidance to address these business models.

FIN-2014-R001: Application of FinCEN’s Regulations to Virtual Currency Mining Operations

FIN-2014-R002: Application of FinCEN’s Regulations to Virtual Currency Software Development and Certain Investment Activity

Prepared Remarks by FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery at SIFMA’s AML and Financial Crimes Conference
FinCEN | January 30, 2014
“Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery delivered remarks today at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Financial Crimes Conference.”

Sound management of risks related to money laundering and financing of terrorism
Bank for International Settlements (BIS) | January 15, 2014
“The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has issued a set of guidelines to describe how banks should include risks related to money laundering and financing of terrorism within their overall risk management framework.

Prudent management of these risks, together with effective supervisory oversight, is critical in protecting the safety and soundness of banks as well as the integrity of the financial system. Failure to manage these risks can expose banks to serious reputational, operational, compliance and other risks.

These guidelines are consistent with the International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2012 and supplement their goals and objectives. The risk management guidelines published today includes cross-references to FATF standards to help banks comply with national requirements based on those standards.”

China Bans Financial Companies From Bitcoin Transactions
Bloomberg News | December 5, 2013
“China’s central bank barred financial institutions from handling Bitcoin transactions, moving to regulate the virtual currency after an 89-fold jump in its value sparked a surge of investor interest in the country.”

FinCEN Issues Advisory on the FATF-Identified Jurisdictions with AML/CFT Deficiencies
FinCEN | December 4, 2013
“The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today issued an advisory to financial institutions based on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) updated lists of jurisdictions with strategic anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing deficiencies. These changes may affect U.S. financial institutions’ obligations and risk-based approaches with respect to relevant jurisdictions.”

FinCEN Promotes Information Sharing through Section 314(b) of the USA PATRIOT Act
FinCEN | October 31, 2013
“The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a fact sheet on Section 314(b) of the USA PATRIOT Act.  Section 314(b) provides financial institutions with the ability to share information with one another, under a safe harbor that offers protections from liability, in order to better identify and report potential money laundering or terrorist activities.”

Leading House Democrats Introduce Bills to Deter Money Laundering and Hold Executives Responsible
Financial Services Committee – Democrats | October 24, 2013
“In the wake of massive money laundering scandals at U.S. banks that allowed terrorist, drug and other illicit money to flow through the economy, two leading Democratic lawmakers introduced two measures to crack down on misconduct and help clean up the system.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), the ranking member on the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises, each introduced bills that together would strengthen U.S. anti-money laundering laws, close loopholes, encourage the flow of information, and give financial regulators enhanced civil powers to hold bank executives accountable for misconduct on their watch.”

U.S. and Mexican AML/CFT Supervisors Sign First-Ever MOU to Exchange Financial Information to Thwart Drug Crime
FinCEN | October 24, 2013
"Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery and Mexico’s National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) President Jaime Gonzalez Aguade have signed an unprecedented Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that strengthens their ability to fight transnational financial crime. Upon signing the MOU, Director Shasky Calvery issued a statement describing its scope and the U.S. Government’s commitment to remain engaged with Mexican counterparts to advance the shared goal of disrupting illicit financial networks linked to transnational criminal organizations." Statement of FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery.

High-risk and Non-Cooperative Jurisdictions
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF)  | October 18 2013
“FATF is the global standard setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). In order to protect the international financial system from money laundering and financing of terrorism (ML/FT) risks and to encourage greater compliance with the AML/CFT standards, the FATF identified jurisdictions that have strategic deficiencies and works with them to address those deficiencies that pose a risk to the international financial system.”

Advisory: Supplement on U.S. Currency Restrictions on Banks in Mexico
FinCEN | September 30, 2013
"The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is issuing this Advisory to update financial institutions on activity associated with regulatory restrictions imposed on Mexican financial institutions for transactions in U.S. currency... The Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores (CNBV) issued on September 27, 2013, an advisory that, among other things, provides relevant statistics in this regard."

FinCEN Issues Advisory on FATF-Identified Jurisdictions with AML/CFT Deficiencies
FinCEN | September 19, 2013
"The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today issued an advisory to financial institutions based on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) updated lists of jurisdictions with strategic anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing deficiencies. These changes may affect U.S. financial institutions’ obligations and risk-based approaches with respect to relevant jurisdictions."

FinCEN Issues Ruling on Armored Car Service Transactions 
FinCEN | July 12, 2013
“FinCEN issued today an administrative ruling regarding currency transaction report (CTR) filings when customers use armored cars.  The ruling addresses circumstances when the armored car service, operating under instructions of a person other than the financial institution, transports currency to or from locations for the benefit of a customer’s account.”

Prepared Remarks of FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery on “The Virtual Economy: Potential, Perplexities and Promises”
FinCEN | June 13, 2013
“FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery gave the keynote address today at a conference on “The Virtual Economy: Potential, Perplexities and Promises” at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. The conference was sponsored by Thomson Reuters and the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children.”

Treasury Announces New Sanctions Against Iran
U.S. Department of the Treasury | May 23, 2013 
“The U.S. Department of the Treasury is taking action today against 20 individuals and entities for their involvement in Iran’s nuclear and missile proliferation networks and Iran’s continued attempts to circumvent sanctions. These networks are responsible for moving supplies and providing essential services to Iran’s clandestine nuclear and weapons programs. These actions are designed to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by tightening sanctions against Iran’s energy sector and exposing key proliferation related networks that span the globe from Europe to Asia.”

Treasury Removes Sanctions on Iraqi Bank
U.S. Department of the Treasury | May 17, 2013 
“The Department of the Treasury today lifted sanctions against the Elaf Islamic Bank in Iraq following the bank’s significant and demonstrated change in behavior.

On July 31, 2012 the Treasury Department imposed sanctions under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA), against Elaf Islamic Bank, a privately-owned Iraqi financial institution, for knowingly facilitating significant transactions and providing significant financial services for the U.S. and EU-designated Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI).  Following the CISADA finding, Elaf immediately engaged the Treasury Department and began an intensive course of action to stop the conduct that led to the CISADA sanction, including freezing EDBI accounts at Elaf and reducing its overall exposure to the Iranian financial sector.  Following today’s action U.S. financial institutions are once again permitted to open or maintain correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts in the United States for Elaf Islamic Bank.”

FinCEN Issues FATF-Related Advisories on AML/CFT Risks
FinCEN | April 24, 2013
“Today, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory (FIN-2013-A004) to inform banks and other financial institutions operating in the United States of the risks of money laundering and financing of terrorism associated with jurisdictions identified by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on February 22, 2013 as having deficiencies in their anti-money laundering/counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) regimes and that (i) have not made sufficient progress in addressing these deficiencies or (ii) are subject to FATF’s call for countermeasures.  In addition, FinCEN issued a complementary advisory (FIN-2013-A003) that addresses a separate, but related, FATF document identifying jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies, for which each jurisdiction has provided a high-level political commitment to address.

  • FIN-2013-A004 -- Guidance to Financial Institutions Based on the Financial Action Task Force Public Statement on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT) Risks
  • FIN-2013-A003 -- Guidance to Financial Institutions Based on the Financial Action Task Force Publication on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT) Risks posed by Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Cuba, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Tajikistan, Zimbabwe, and the substantial AML/CFT improvements in Ghana and Venezuela”

Prepared Remarks of FinCEN Director Shasky at the ACAMS AML and Financial Crime Conference
FinCEN | March 19, 2013
“Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery gave the keynote address this morning at the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) 18th Annual International Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Crime Conference.”

FinCEN Issues Guidance on Virtual Currencies and Regulatory Responsibilities
FinCEN | March 18, 2013
"To provide clarity and regulatory certainty for businesses and individuals engaged in an expanding field of financial activity, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today issued the following guidance: Application of FinCEN’s Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies. The guidance is in response to questions raised by financial institutions, law enforcement, and regulators concerning the regulatory treatment of persons who use convertible virtual currencies or make a business of exchanging, accepting, and transmitting them. Convertible virtual currencies either have an equivalent value in real currency or act as a substitute for real currency. The guidance considers the use of virtual currencies from the perspective of several categories within FinCEN's definition of MSBs."

FinCEN Reminds Financial Institutions to Adopt New Report Format by April 1, 2013
FinCEN | March 8, 2013
"On February 23, 2012, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a Final Notice requiring the electronic filing of most Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reports by July 1, 2012. Specifically, this action mandates the electronic submission of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs), Registration of Money Services Business (RMSBs), and Designation of Exempt Person Reports (DOEPs). Financial institutions are reminded that they must begin using the new FinCEN reports, which are available only electronically through the BSA E-Filing System, by April 1, 2013."

2013 International Narcotics Control  Strategy Report (INCSR): Major Money Laundering Countries
U.S. Department of State | March 5, 2013
“Every year, U.S. officials from agencies with anti-money laundering responsibilities assess the money laundering situations in 200 jurisdictions. The review includes an assessment of the significance of financial transactions in the country’s financial institutions involving proceeds of serious crime, steps taken or not taken to address financial crime and money laundering, each jurisdiction’s vulnerability to money laundering, the conformance of its laws and policies to international standards, the effectiveness with which the government has acted, and the government’s political will to take needed actions.

The 2013 INCSR identifies money laundering priority jurisdictions and countries using a classification system that consists of three categories: Jurisdictions of Primary Concern, Jurisdictions of Concern, and Other Jurisdictions Monitored.”

FinCEN Proposes Changes to the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts
FinCEN | March 5, 2013
"FinCEN is proposing changes to the FBAR to standardize it with other BSA electronically filed reports and add the capability for a third party preparer to file the report. Also, FinCEN proposes to add an item to record the type of  taxpayer identification number (“TIN”), among other minor changes."

Comptroller Speaks to the Institute of International Bankers
OCC | March 4, 2013
"WASHINGTON — Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry today spoke about operational risk during a speech at the annual conference of the Institute of International Bankers held in Washington, D.C."

FinCEN Issues Advisory to Financial Institutions: Update on Tax Refund Fraud and Related Identity Theft
FinCEN | February 26, 2013
“FinCEN issued an advisory today to remind financial institutions of previously published information concerning tax refund fraud and the subsequent reporting of such activity through the filing of Suspicious Activity Reports. Identity theft can be a precursor to tax refund fraud because individual income tax returns filed in the United States are tracked and processed by Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) and the individual taxpayer names associated with these numbers. Criminals can obtain TINs through various methods of identity theft, including phishing schemes and the establishment of fraudulent tax preparation businesses. In response to this problem, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has developed a comprehensive strategy focused on preventing, detecting, and resolving instances of tax-related identity theft crimes. FinCEN worked closely with the IRS to identify indicators of tax refund fraud.”

FATF Public Statement, February 22, 2013
FATF | February 22, 2013
Paris, 22 February 2013 - The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global standard setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). In order to protect the international financial system from money laundering and financing of terrorism (ML/FT) risks and to encourage greater compliance with the AML/CFT standards, the FATF identified jurisdictions that have strategic deficiencies and works with them to address those deficiencies that pose a risk to the international financial system.”

Outcomes of the FATF Plenary, February 22, 2013
FATF | February 22, 2013
“The FATF took important new steps to protect the international financial system from abuse by:

Prepared Remarks of FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery, Delivered at FIBA’s Anti-Money Laundering Conference
FinCEN | February 15, 2013
FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery delivered the keynote address at the Florida International Bankers Association’s (FIBA) annual anti-money laundering conference in Miami, Florida on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. Her prepared remarks are available on FinCEN's Web site.

FinCEN Releases Summaries of Roundtable Meetings on Proposed Customer Due Diligence Requirements
FinCEN | December 3, 2012
“The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has released summaries of its roundtable meetings to continue gathering information on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on customer due diligence (CDD) requirements for financial institutions. Summaries of the meetings in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago have been posted to FinCEN’s Web site at www.fincen.gov.

  • Summary of Roundtable Meeting: ANPRM on Customer Due Diligence, held in Los Angeles on 10/29/12
  • Summary of Roundtable Meeting: ANPRM on Customer Due Diligence, held in New York on 10/5/12
  • Summary of Roundtable Meeting: ANPRM on Customer Due Diligence, held in Chicago on 9/28/12”

Remarks of FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery at the ABA/ABA Money Laundering Enforcement Conference
FinCEN | Nov 14, 2012
“The prepared remarks of FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery, delivered at the American Bankers Association/American Bar Association Money Laundering Enforcement Conference, have been posted to FinCEN's Web site.”

Remarks of Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen at the ABA/ABA Money Laundering Enforcement Conference
U.S. Department of Treasury | Nov 14, 2012
“The prepared remarks of Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen, delivered at the American Bankers Association/American Bar Association Money Laundering Enforcement Conference, have been posted to the Treasury’s Web site.”

Remarks of Under Secretary David Cohen at Chatham House on "Kidnapping for Ransom: The Growing Terrorist Financing Challenge"
U.S. Department of Treasury | Oct 5, 2012
“The Chatham House in London, United Kingdom hosted a program on kidnapping for ransom. Cohen discussed the serious threat posed by kidnapping for ransom and explored the policy options available to counter this growing form of terrorist financing.”

Summary and Prepared Remarks from the July 31, 2012 Public Hearing on FinCEN's Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Customer Due Diligence Requirements for Financial Institutions
FinCEN | Sept 13, 2012
“On July 31, 2012, FinCEN held the first of an intended series of public hearings to continue gathering information on its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on Customer Due Diligence (CDD) Requirements for Financial Institutions, published in the Federal Register on March 5, 2012. The original Notice for the hearing is available here and the general summary and prepared remarks from the public hearing are available here. For individuals interested in viewing the portion of the hearing that is available via webcast, the recorded webcast of the hearing is available here.”

FinCEN Reminds Mortgage Companies and Brokers of New Regulatory Requirements
FinCEN | Aug 16, 2012
“Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Director James H. Freis, Jr. [on August 16, 2012]  announced the issuance of an advisory for non-bank residential mortgage lenders and originators (RMLOs) to help them identify and report suspicious activity related to potential mortgage fraud.”

New Casino Compliance FAQs
FinCEN | Aug 13, 2012
"FinCEN is providing additional guidance interpreting the requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act ("BSA") regulations as they apply to the casino and card club industries in the United States. FinCEN additionally published FAQs for casinos and card clubs as FIN-2007-G005 on November 14, 2007and FIN-2009-G004 on September 30, 2009."

Update on U.S. Currency Restrictions in Mexico
FinCEN | July 18, 2012
“The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is issuing this Advisory to remind financial institutions of previously-published information concerning regulatory restrictions imposed on Mexican financial institutions for transactions in U.S. currency. In 2010, FinCEN issued an Advisory (2010 Advisory) informing financial institutions of then-recently enacted restrictions.

Since the issuance of the 2010 Advisory, FinCEN has been working with law enforcement, regulatory, and international partners, as well as monitoring trends in Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) data, to identify changes to illicit actors' methodologies when moving funds. While the initial restrictions were applied to Mexican banks, on September 9, 2010, similar restrictions were issued for exchange houses (casas de cambio) and brokerages (casas de bolsa). For additional information, financial institutions may wish to visit the Mexican Ministry of Finance's website to find the regulatory text and any further updates.”

Treasury Identifies Belarusian JSC Credexbank as an Institution of “Primary Money Laundering Concern"
U.S. Department of Treasury | May 22, 2012
“The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced on May 5, 2012 the identification of Belarus-based JSC CredexBank (Credex) as a financial institution of primary money laundering concern under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act (Section 311).”

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