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Corporate Transparency Act – FinCEN Issues Final Rule for Beneficial Ownership Reporting

We recently shared an alert covering The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA), which became law on January 1, 2021. The NDAA included significant reforms to the U.S. anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism regime. Division F of the NDAA consists of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, which includes … Continue Reading

Illicit Financing Risks in the Digital Assets Space: Department of the Treasury Releases Three Reports on Digital Assets and Invites Comment

On September 16, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) published three reports in response to a March 2022 Executive Order concerning the development of digital assets.  The reports address the future of money and payments; implications for consumers, investors, and businesses; and the illicit financing risks of digital assets.  Secretary Yellen described the … Continue Reading

OFAC Sanctions Virtual Currency Mixer “Tornado Cash”

On August 8, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) sanctioned virtual currency mixer Tornado Cash for having laundered more than USD 7 billion worth of virtual currency since its founding in 2019.  This includes over USD 455 million worth of stolen virtual currency associated with the Lazarus Group, … Continue Reading

Law Enforcement in the Digital Assets Space: Department of Justice Issues Report Pursuant to White House Executive Order

On September 16, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DoJ”) issued a report on The Role of Law Enforcement in Detecting, Investigating, and Prosecuting Criminal Activity Related to Digital Assets (the “Report”), which will have a significant and wide-ranging impact on the U.S. government’s ability to investigate, prosecute, and disrupt crimes involving digital assets.  The … Continue Reading

FinCEN Requests Public Comments on Potential No-Action Letter Process

Thanks to our Summer Associate, Apollo Yong, for his work on this timely blog. On June 6, 2022, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANPRM”), requesting public comment on questions related to FinCEN’s implementation of a no-action letter process.[1] … Continue Reading

The Fine Art of Money Laundering: The Treasury Department’s Study on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in the Art Trade

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (“NDAA”) became law early in 2021, after a congressional override of then-President Trump’s veto. Division F of the NDAA consists of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (“AMLA”). The AMLA expands numerous Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) requirements, and amends the BSA’s definition of “financial institution” to include persons … Continue Reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recent Developments in AML/CTF Initiatives

Financial institutions and other relevant entities should take notice of two recent developments in anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing initiatives.  First, European Union member states had to transpose the EU’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive by January 10, 2020—that is, member states had to implement certain rules into their respective national legislations by that date.  Second, … 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

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
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