The law on privilege in the context of money laundering and financial crime

In Canada and the US, lawyers are not subject to anti-money laundering reporting obligations like they are in most other countries. One of the most frequent reasons given for this by lawyers is that to require us to report certain financial transactions to a financial intelligence unit is inconsistent with, and would undermine, legal privilege. […]

US indicts foreign national for laundering money from Iran through Canada, US, Korea and parking it in expensive real estate

The US federal government has filed an indictment against a foreign national, Kenneth Zong, who resided in the US for allegedly laundering over $1 billion from Iran through Canada, the US and a number of other countries in violation of international sanctions law that prohibit providing financial services to Iranian foreign nationals in Iran and […]

G20 adopts a “zero tolerance” against corruption and agree to close all loopholes and join forces for asset recovery of proceeds of crime on an urgent basis

The G20 agrees to cooperate over asset recovery and tracking down wanted foreign nationals implicated in financial crimes The G20 released its statement on September 5, 2016, and a large part of it indicates that the leaders of the world are becoming concerned with financial crime, including money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion. The […]

FBI – “No safe haven anywhere for money launderers” – The fascinating $1B 1MDB civil asset forfeiture case

Largest civil asset recovery case in US of this kind On July 20, 2016, the US Department of Justice filed a civil forfeiture case in California to recover assets of more than $1 billion in alleged proceeds of crime resulting from fraud allegedly committed by individuals associated with the Malaysian government’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MDB“). […]

US expands review of money laundering in real estate market

More scrutiny in US for real estate The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced that it is expanding its program to identify persons who may be hiding assets in residential properties in the US. The expansion adds additional cities to what are called the area for Geographic Targeting Orders (GTO). Title insurance agents in GTO cities […]

FinTechs are being derisked out of bank accounts over terrorist financing and money laundering risks says UK study

The Financial Conduct Authority released an interesting soft study on the incidents of derisking affecting companies in the UK and pursuant to the study, MSB, charities and FinTechs are the three business client groups whose bank accounts are most frequently closed because they are too risky for the bank (a practice known as derisking). No […]

A banker’s update on terrorist financing and money laundering from the US Committee on Homeland Security

Summary of the Updates The US House Committee on Homeland Security released a number of updates and received testimony on the status of terrorist financing, terrorism and money laundering in the last few weeks with some interesting developments relevant to banks in terms of changes in terrorist financing typologies that should be added to anti-money […]

US amends anti-money laundering law for beneficial ownership after Panama Papers, including to detect purchases of expensive real estate with illicit money

Panama Papers Driven Changes The US Treasury has announced several amendments, and proposed legislative amendments, to its anti-money laundering (“AML“) legislation in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal to tackle the disclosure of what is called “beneficial ownership.” Beneficial ownership means the beneficial, as opposed to the legal, owner of shares of a private […]

Primer on Beneficial Ownership and Numbered, Shelf and Shell Companies

Beneficial ownership … Shell companies … Shelf companies … What’s the Difference?  Since the Panama Papers, there seems to be an increasing interest in the concepts of beneficial ownership, numbered companies, shell companies and shelf companies and people use the term interchangeably but they are not the same thing. 1. Shelf Companies  A shelf company […]

France calls for stronger counter-terrorist financing laws

Consensus on Supranational Risk Assessment  As part of the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive approval process in the European Union (the “4th AMLD“), the Council of the European Union’s President yesterday issued declarations and proposals for the regulation of anonymous financial transactions that are transacted on new fintech products. The communication from the President included Declarations […]