Compliance Program

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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

DOJ Prioritizes Health Care Fraud in the Pandemic

The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) recently announced its largest ever health care fraud and opioid enforcement action.  In a coordinated effort, DOJ charged 345 defendants with more than $6 billion in fraud losses for submitting false and fraudulent claims to federal health care programs and private insurers.… Continue Reading

4 Compliance Tips Amid Increased Ransomware Scrutiny

In light of two new US Treasury Department advisories signaling increased oversight of ransomware payments, victim companies and their third-party response teams considering making payments should follow certain due diligence and compliance best practices, write Colin Jennings, Ericka Johnson, Dylan Yépez and Elizabeth Weil Shaw in an article for Law360.… 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

FinCEN Director Blanco Encourages Increased Communication During Global Pandemic

In remarks to the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (“ACAMS”), Kenneth A. Blanco, the Director of the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), covered a number of high-priority topics, including FinCEN’s response to the pandemic, the latest COVID-19 related fraud schemes, emerging cyber threats, virtual currency issues, and important regulatory updates.  A theme … Continue Reading

The White House Directs Federal Agencies to Focus on Fairness in Investigations and Enforcement

On May 19, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump signed Executive Order 13924, to provide regulatory relief for entities economically impacted by the pandemic.  Section 6 of the Executive Order directed agencies to revise their procedures and practices in administrative investigations and enforcement in light of certain enumerated principles of fairness.  It … Continue Reading

FinCEN’s New Rule Impacts Banks Lacking a Federal Functional Regulator

On September 14, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a final rule  (“Rule”) requiring the minimum standards for anti-money laundering programs for certain institutions lacking a Federal functional regulator.  The Rule applies to banks that lack a Federal functional regulator, including, but not limited to, private banks, privately … Continue Reading

New DOJ Expectations: Does Your Corporate Compliance Measure Up?

On June 1, 2020, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) Criminal Division released an update to its “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs” guidance for federal prosecutors, its first change since April 2019. Although the update did not fundamentally alter the structure of the guidance, the revisions directly impact how companies should assess and monitor their compliance … Continue Reading

Responding to Financial Crime Risks during COVID-19

Over the past few months, numerous organizations and agencies—including the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, UK Financial Conduct Authority, Dubai Financial Services Authority, and U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network—have stressed the need to preserve the integrity and security of the global payments system during and after the pandemic.… 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

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

Antitrust Division Acts to Reward Corporate Compliance

The Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (“Division”) now considers a company’s compliance program at the charging and sentencing stages in a criminal antitrust investigation.  The Division incorporated these changes into the Justice Manual. The Division also published a guide for evaluating compliance programs under this new approach.… Continue Reading

Russian Duma Revisits Criminalization as Counter-sanction

Russian Duma Revisits Criminalization as Counter-sanction The Russian Duma is considering a bill that would prohibit media communications that reveal non-compliance with sanctions or facilitate imposition of sanctions and would also impose criminal penalties on those that disclose or transfer information to organizations “directly or indirectly” under the control of an “unfriendly state”, any company … Continue Reading

OFAC Compliance Guidelines

Five months after Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary of the US Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, presented five of the hallmarks of an effective sanctions compliance program, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has finally published long-awaited guidance for national and international organizations subject to its regulation (the Framework). OFAC is the organization responsible for administering and enforcing US economic … Continue Reading

New DOJ Guidance on Cooperation in False Claims Act Matters

This week, the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice released guidelines on cooperation credit in False Claims Act cases. The guidelines strongly emphasize voluntary disclosure, but also provide insight into other actions that could give rise to cooperation credit.… Continue Reading

Anti-Corruption Guidance in Russia: What’s a Company to Do?

Anti-corruption has been a hot topic in Russia for some time. But recently, the Russian government has begun to take creative approaches in the fight against corruption. These initiatives are aimed at raising public awareness of corruption among the general public. What appears to be missing in this outreach is compliance guidance to companies in … Continue Reading

DOJ Updates Guidance for Corporate Compliance Programs

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced an update to its earlier guidance on how the DOJ will evaluate the effectiveness of a company’s corporate compliance program. The updated compliance guideline (“Updated Guidance”) is twice the length of the original, and utilizes a more instructive approach, serving as a roadmap to prosecutors, and prudent companies. Although … Continue Reading

Does C Plea Mean Corporate Plea?

Many conclude that a C plea means a Corporate Plea. Used infrequently, a C plea restricts discretion of a federal district judge to sentence a criminal defendant. By expressing his concerns about a proposed C plea for a company, one federal judge changed the result. In an article published by the American Health Lawyers Association, … Continue Reading

Does DOJ Approve Of Your Messaging App?

The Department of Justice released new Enforcement Policy for the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The revisions include a new provision that many believe impairs the use of instant messaging software and other third-party messaging apps by employees. In order to receive a declination and full credit for cooperating with investigators under the Enforcement Policy, U.S. companies … Continue Reading

A Lesson: Follow Through With Encryption Plan

Even the best laid plan for data security requires follow through. A cancer center was penalized $4.3 million by the government for failing to complete its encryption plan for devices.  The decision is instructive even for companies not specifically required to protect data under government regulation. Tom Zeno and Elliot Golding of Squire Patton Boggs discuss … Continue Reading

2018 – Problem and Promise of Cryptocompliance in America

Having looked comparatively at the approaches of certain authorities around the world to addressing and mitigating the risks associated with cryptocurrencies, our attentions now turn to the emerging position of regulators in the U.S., which is often considered the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency market. In the first two parts of this three-part post, we examined “cryptocompliance” … Continue Reading
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