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fincen

A notice, relating to the findings of the Financial Action Task Force relating to deficiencies in the counter-money laundering / anti-terrorist financing regimes of several jurisdictions, has been issued by the USA's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, FinCEN.

Organised by Casino Essentials, a three-day conference and exhibition started in Las Vegas yesterday with the opening Keynote Presentation by Kenneth Blanco, Director, FinCEN. Before he got down to the nitty-gritty yesterday, Blanco was chummy with the lawyers and gaming industry reps and in his remarks prepared in advance he said "Thank you for that wonderful introduction, Jim" and "Thank you so much, Mindy, for inviting FinCEN to be a part of this event." So, chummy and psychic? How did the rest of his speech go? We know...

FinCEN can't make its mind up. On 16 May this year, FinCEN granted to covered financial institutions a 90 day exception from the requirement to comply with the " Beneficial Ownership Rule for Legal Entity Customers." Leaving aside the fact that, as with the UK's draft Bill, the term "Beneficial Owner" has been co-opted from an entirely different area of law and is therefore a cause for confusion, FinCEN Is up to its old tricks of mitigating the effect of a Rule while pretending that the USA has a strong counter-money laundering regime. The 90 days is up and, guess, what? FinCEN has extended it. What is going on?

The cost of compliance and risk management in financial institutions is an eternal bone of contention. US regulators The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency together with the criminal prosecutors at The U.S. Department of Justice have agreed a USD185 million civil money penalty against US Bank National Association, in essence for failing to apply sufficient resources to its counter-money laundering policies and systems.

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"The U.S. Department of the Treasurys (sic) Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today issued a finding and notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), pursuant to Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act, seeking to prohibit the opening or maintaining of a correspondent account in the United States for, or on behalf of, ABLV Bank. FinCEN is proposing this action based on its finding set out in the NPRM that ABLV is a foreign bank of primary money laundering concern," says an e-mail from FinCEN. FinCEN says there are links to North Korea and the case is a warning to all banks that do business with NoKo or representatives of its regime. But the USA is mightily cross at links with several other countries with which relations are souring.

Often, one is tempted to shake one's head in amazement when a regulator or enforcement agency is proud that it's done something that has been obvious for, well, pretty much for ever, in money laundering terms. If one were to shake one's head with appropriate force at FinCEN's boast that it is to target shell companies that have been used to purchase expensive properties in seven expensive areas, there's a risk it would topple free of one's shoulders. Surely the point is not the FinCEN has just noticed, but that it's just noticed that banks, lawyers and estate agents have not been making reports. Shades of Commonwealth Bank, maybe?

In 2009, an IRS inspection found "systemic" failures in the money laundering control systems at a small supermarket, Thriftway Food Mart which provided cheque cashing services and the sale of money orders, activities which require it to be registered as a Money Services Business with FinCEN and to impose and maintain appropriate systems. The sole proprietor of the business, who is also its compliance officer, was issued with a warning from FinCEN. So that's all good, then, you might think. Well, ... no.

FinCEN and FDIC have assessed First Bank of Delaware to a USD15m civil penalty as a result of breaches of the Bank Secrecy Act and other counter-money laundering laws and regulations. The bank has also settled DoJ charges.

Ocean Bank of Miami, Florida, has been issued with penalties by the Federal Deposit Indemnity Corporation, Florida Office of Financial Regulation and FinCEN in respect of a series of breaches of the Bank Secrecy Act and other anti-money laundering laws and regulations. The bank neither admits nor denies the allegations.

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