Kevin McCart

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President Biden Issues Executive Order Directing Agencies to Develop Policy Recommendations on Digital Assets

President Biden has signed his long-awaited Executive Order on digital assets (“Executive Order”).  The Executive Order, titled Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets, does not announce any new regulations for the digital asset industry.  Instead, the Executive Order mandates federal agencies to take a unified approach to developing specific policy recommendations for a comprehensive regulatory … Continue Reading

Proposed FinCEN Pilot Program on Sharing of Suspicious Activity Reports with Foreign Affiliates

On January 25, 2022, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued its anticipated Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking public comment on a proposed pilot program that would permit certain financial institutions to share suspicious activity reports (“SARs”) and information related to SARs with the institutions’ foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates (the “NPRM”). The proposed rule is … Continue Reading

The Treasury 2021 Sanctions Review is Complete: What Next?

On October 18, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) released the findings from its review of the economic sanctions administered and enforced by its Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”). During the review, Treasury met with individuals representing hundreds of sanctions stakeholders, including Members of Congress and their staffs, the private sector, foreign … Continue Reading

OFAC Issues Updated Ransomware Advisory and Designates Virtual Currency Exchange

On September 21, 2021, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued an Updated Advisory on Potential Sanctions Risks for Facilitating Ransomware Payments (the “Updated Advisory”) superseding its earlier October 1, 2020 guidance on ransomware attacks and, for the first time, added a virtual currency exchange to the Specially … Continue Reading

New Central Bank Guidance for UAE Financial Institutions on Suspicious Activity/Transaction Reporting

On June 7, 2021, the UAE Central Bank issued new guidance requiring all UAE financial institutions to file suspicious activity reports (SARs) or suspicious transaction reports (STRs) with the UAE’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) using the goAML portal within 35 calendar days of detection of any conduct that they reasonably suspect may be linked to … Continue Reading

FinCEN and Federal Reserve Seek Comments on Proposed Amendments to the Recordkeeping and Travel Rules

On October 23, 2020, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the ‘‘Board’’) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) (collectively, the “Agencies”) issued a joint Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) soliciting public comment on questions relating to potential amendments to Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) regulations. The proposed … Continue Reading

FinCEN Imposes First of its Kind Civil Penalty against Cryptocurrency Money Service Business

On October 19, 2020, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released its assessment of a $60 million civil monetary penalty against the operator of two cryptocurrency “mixers” for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”).[1] The action marks the first effort by FinCEN to target the use of these “mixers” to facilitate money laundering and … Continue Reading

Cryptocurrency Exchange and its Executives Face Allegations of Failing to Maintain an Adequate AML Program

Two U.S. authorities recently announced actions against four individuals and numerous entities associated with BitMEX, an online trading platform for futures contracts and other derivative products tied to the value of cryptocurrencies.  Both actions allege that BitMEX failed to put in place required anti-money laundering programs and procedures, and serve as a reminder that institutions … Continue Reading

Ransomware Payments can lead to Sanctions and Reporting Obligations for Financial Institutions

With cybercrime on the rise, two U.S. Treasury Department components, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), issued advisories on one of the most insidious forms of cyberattack – ransomware.… Continue Reading

SBA PPP FORGIVENESS APPLICATION PROVIDES GUIDANCE FOR LENDERS AND BORROWERS

On May 15, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released the long-awaited Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application.  Congress established the PPP as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), and the PPP is a key pillar in the Government’s response to the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.  … Continue Reading

Sanctions Considerations for Companies and NGOs Exporting Supplies to Iran

In an earlier post, here, we scrutinized the form and content of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)’s March 6, 2020 guidance pertaining to the provision of humanitarian goods and assistance to the people of Iran consistent with U.S. sanctions. In this concluding post, we discuss the factors the … Continue Reading

IBK Settlements with US Authorities Regarding BSA/AML Violations

On April 20, 2020, the Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) and its New York branch (IBKNY) (collectively, “the Bank”) entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) with the New York Attorney General, and a Consent Order (the “Consent … Continue Reading

OFSI Russian Sanctions Penalty; Foreshadows Increasing UK Enforcement?

On March 31, 2020, the United Kingdom’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) levied its largest monetary penalty to date of GBP 20.47 million. OFSI penalized Standard Chartered for loans to Denizbank, a Turkish bank that was majority owned by Sberbank, a state-owned Russian bank.  Accordingly, those loans violated European Union restrictions on making certain … Continue Reading

Special Appearance Denied In Sanctions Criminal Case

A New York federal judge recently held that a foreign bank could not challenge U.S. federal criminal jurisdiction prior to arraignment. US Allegation Halkbank is a Turkish majority state-owned bank. The United States alleged that Halkbank developed an illicit scheme comprised “of fraudulent transactions intended to deceive U.S. regulators and foreign banks” through which the … Continue Reading

OFAC Sanctions the Gupta Family for Bribery, Corruption and Misappropriation of South African State Assets

In an earlier post, here, we examined the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (“GloMag”), which was formally implemented by an Executive Order that declared “serious human rights abuses and corruption globally” as an emergency threat to U.S. interests. The President delegated his authority under GloMag to the Global Targeting Office of the U.S. Department … Continue Reading

SEC Expands Jurisdiction to Sanctions Violations

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently penalized a public company for violating U.S. economic sanctions. The violation cited the “books and records” and “internal controls” provisions of Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”). With this unprecedented action, the SEC has put companies on notice that the Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) and … Continue Reading

United Arab Emirates Financial Centers Enhance Economic Security and Business Viability

In an earlier post, here, we examined Law No. 20 of 2018 on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organizations, the new Federal AML Law enacted by the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) to ensure best practice anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures. In this post, we consider how the UAE’s two … Continue Reading

Bipartisan Banking Committee Senators Introduce Anti-Money Laundering Reform Bill

On September 26, 2019, a bipartisan group of eight Senators introduced the Illicit Cash Act[1], which, among other proposed reforms, would require certain companies to disclose beneficial ownership information to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) at incorporation and within 90 days of any change in beneficial ownership. Led by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), co-sponsors … Continue Reading

United Arab Emirates Issues New AML Law in Context of FATF Evaluation

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization founded 30 years ago to develop and uphold policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, is conducting a peer review (or “mutual evaluation”) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this year. FATF last assessed the UAE in 2008, and found the country’s systems and frameworks … Continue Reading

Hoskins May Limit Extraterritorial Enforcement of U.S. Sanctions

The Second Circuit’s recent decision in United States v. Hoskins may impact enforcement of U.S. economic sanctions programs. The Hoskins decision precludes the government from charging a foreign national acting abroad with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) through theories of conspiracy and accomplice liability. This holding is equally applicable to U.S. sanctions law.… Continue Reading
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