Category Archives: FinCEN

Personal Liability for Compliance Officer in MoneyGram Settlement: Powerful Motivator or Chilling Deterrent?

by Erin Schrantz, Anouck Giovanola, and Justin Spiegel

On May 4, 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (“SDNY”) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) announced the settlement of civil claims brought under the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) against the former Chief Compliance Officer of MoneyGram International, Inc. (“MoneyGram”), Thomas Haider, stemming from MoneyGram’s failure to implement and maintain an effective anti-money laundering (“AML”) program or to timely file suspicious activity reports (“SARs”).[1]  The settlement represented the resolution of the first-ever suit filed by the federal government against an individual compliance officer in the finance industry,[2] and is likely to add fuel to increasing anxiety regarding the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) willingness to hold corporate executives liable for compliance failings. Continue reading

Why America is the New Switzerland – and How Panama is About to Change This

by Susan Emmenegger

When in 1848 the Swiss cantons agreed to form a federal state modeled after the U.S. Constitution of 1787, they called Switzerland the New America. More recently, the roles have been reversed: America is called the New Switzerland. The claim is not that America is making better chocolate than the Swiss. It is that America has become the world’s leading bank secrecy jurisdiction. Yet America’s “Swissness” is about to be scaled down. Following the Panama Papers scandal, the Treasury has activated long-standing proposals to improve U.S. financial transparency.  Among other things, new rules on Customer Due Diligence were published on May 11, 2016. In Europe, the general view is that the changes ­­– even if approved by Congress – are not sufficient. Nevertheless, they are an important step forward. Continue reading