Last week the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued much-anticipated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that provide additional guidance to financial institutions relating to the implementation of the new Customer Due Diligence Rule (CDD Rule), set to go into effect on May 11, 2018. In general, the FAQs clarify certain issues that have caused implementation challenges for financial institutions. While FinCEN’s earlier guidance provided a general overview of the CDD Rule—including the purpose of the rule, the institutions to which it is applicable, and some relevant definitions—the new FAQs provide greater detail for financial institutions seeking to comply with the CDD Rule. The FAQs are meant to assist covered financial institutions in understanding the scope of their customer due diligence (CDD) obligations, as well as the rule’s impact on their broader anti-money laundering (AML) compliance. While the guidance is helpful in clarifying some of FinCEN’s expectations, the implementation challenge lies in applying the CDD Rule to a financial institution’s specific products and services.
As financial institutions work to meet the CDD Rule’s fast-approaching May 11 compliance deadline, they should pay special attention to the following key areas summarized below. Continue reading →
Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) recently announced the creation of the FinCEN Exchange, a new voluntary platform to facilitate information sharing between the government and industry on topics related to anti–money laundering (“AML”) and other financial crime issues. The program represents a significant step forward on two related priority areas for FinCEN: information sharing and public-private partnerships. Continue reading →
The U.S. government’s settlement with Hobby Lobby on July 5, 2017 is part of its broader effort to combat trafficking in looted antiquities from the war-torn Middle East and to reduce market demand for such objects by punishing participants in the black market. Having scored this high-profile settlement in an early test case, the U.S. government likely will try to build on this success with additional investigations and enforcement actions. Continue reading →
On June 5, 2017, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Honeycutt v. United States (No. 16-142), holding that a criminal defendant can be held liable to forfeit only crime proceeds the defendant personally obtained, and cannot be made jointly and severally liable for proceeds acquired by a co-conspirator. The decision upends decades of nearly uniform precedent from the federal courts of appeals, and will likely have wide-ranging effects on the government’s ability to obtain criminal forfeiture. While Honeycutt is a narcotics case, the procedures in the forfeiture statute in question apply to all criminal forfeitures, including criminal forfeiture in cases involving securities fraud, healthcare fraud, corruption, insider trading, economic sanctions, mail fraud and wire fraud. Continue reading →
Let’s say you’re a powerful foreign leader who has accepted millions of dollars in bribe payments, a “Kleptocrat.” You’ve got a problem: where to stash the loot? The stacks are too big to stockpile in your piggy bank or sock drawer. You need to be more creative. Here is one solution: set up an off-shore company, open a bank account in a jurisdiction with strict bank secrecy laws, load the account with the bribe payments you received, and then buy premium real estate in the United States. Voila – clean money.