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USA PATRIOT Act

The USA and Israel are the two most prominent countries which refuse to recognise the International Criminal Court. But the International Criminal Court takes action where it finds it. And US President Trump doesn't like it when US Citizens are affected. Now he's taken the remarkable step of issuing an Executive Order on 11 June 2020 applying sanctions to those involved in the Court. And he's declared a national emergency.

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The USA's financial crime regulator and FIU, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, FinCEN, has announced that it has "launched" the "Global Investigations Division" or (inevitably) "GID". It is being sold as being focussed on money laundering threats that originate abroad. But what is it really? And has FinCEN at last found its calling?

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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.

We've been here before, or have we? Just six weeks ago was the tenth anniversary of the USA listing Banco Delta Asia of Macau and Hong Kong as being "of primary money laundering concern." But there was scant evidence of wrongdoing by BCA and what there was turned out to be largely made up. Is the Bank of Dandong, a mainland Chinese bank, any more culpable or is the USA back on the track of weapons of monetary destruction that don't really exist?

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The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which also has a regulatory function, has applied a USD3 million civil money penalty against Lone Star National Bank of Pharr, Texas, for failing to properly comply with the requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act - as found in s312 of the USA PATRIOT Act.

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This article, by Nigel Morris-Cotterill, was first published in September 2002. It is, in part based on a briefing to banks, etc, in London in November 2001 and draws attention to the effect of the money laundering, etc. provisions of the just in-force USA PATRIOT Act.

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The announcement by the US Treasury that it was implementing financial sanctions against North Korea should make no difference to most properly advised financial organisations.

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As banks find themselves subject to ever more stringent arrangements over correspondent banking, the process seems complex and esoteric. It isn't. Here's the BankingInsuranceSecurities.com guide to correspondent banking . Simple.

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ON 21 May 2012, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the identification of Belarus-based JSC CredexBank (Credex) as a financial institution of primary money laundering concern under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act (Section 311). Treasury took this action because it has reason to believe that Credex has engaged in high volumes of transactions that are indicative of money laundering on behalf of shell corporations, and has a history of ownership by shell corporations whose own lack of transparency contributes to considerable uncertainty surrounding Credex’s true beneficial ownership.

The signatures on the covering letter (strangely undated) sent to Congress are immediately striking: Greenspan, O'Neill and Pitt. The report is dated 31 December 2002 and that is the date it was released. Presumably, then, that is the date that should have been on the letter.

An edited version of an article that first appeared 31 December 2002

The past year has been strange. And the reasons for that strangeness began, at least in the UK and at least in part, in early 2001. At the beginning of 2001, in the UK, we knew that there were going to be several significant changes to the law relating to money laundering and the regulatory framework in which we operated.

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