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 [...]

Summary of the 2016 US Threat Assessment

The Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community (the “Report“) prepared by the Director of National Intelligence on February 9, 2016, is a very interesting read from a counter-terrorism perspective, and essential reading for any bank in respect of assessing client and regional risks. Generally, the Report is dead on in respect of the [...]

US approves law limiting access to the US for people who visited or are from Iran, Iraq, Syria & Sudan

A “Terrorist Risk” Following the terrorist attack in San Bernadino on December 2, 2015, an 11-month-old relatively dormant bill to amend an American law to impose visa restrictions on select foreign nationals entering the US gained traction when it was rapidly enacted in the US. US Bill H.R. 158, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act [...]

In 2015, more countries become terrorist hotspots; Canada moves up ranks to become 35th in terrorism threat index; US moves up to 17th place

US and Canada move up on the terrorism threat index 2014 and thus far in 2015, have been marked by a dramatic increase in terrorist incidents and in the number of countries that have been pulled into terrorist activity and for which financial institutions have been used for terrorist financing. Western countries are becoming less [...]

Defector from UK to Islamic State releases e-book that sheds some light on trade-based terrorist financing

Ebook on ISIS An ISIS defector from the UK has published an e-book called “A Brief Guide to the Islamic State” (2015 Edition) that is posted on a popular social media site used by ISIS to publish propaganda, called Internet Archive. The Guide is consistent with ISIS terrorist propaganda messages: it gives information on life [...]

Sanctions world first ~ US imposes sanctions against North Koreans for private sector and over cyberhack incident

Economic sanctions ordered Today, the US announced it is imposing economic sanctions against certain individuals  and entities in North Korea over the Sony cyberhack. The so-called Sony sanctions appears to represent the first time in history that sanctions have been imposed (a) solely in response for, or over a, private sector dispute / issue; and [...]

Another Australian Bank De-Risks and Exits Remittance Business Over Terrorist Financing Regulatory Risks; Financial Inclusion and Shadow Banking Seen As Repercussion

Fourth banks closes remittances businesses Another bank in Australia, the Westpac Bank, has announced it will close its remittance business division next week over the difficulty of complying with counter-terrorism laws. By de-risking and closing its remittance division, the Bank is terminating the bank accounts of all of its business customers who operate money services [...]

Stopping the cash flow to ISIS from countries like Canada

Islamic State: Stopping the cash flow from countries like Canada Great conversation about the sources of terrorist funds to the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) on CBC News Now in Toronto yesterday which touched on a wide range of interesting counter-terrorism finance topics including the role of financial institutions, money services businesses, potential attacks on [...]

PwC settles with New York bank regulator over anti-money laundering and sanctions advice

The New York Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS“) has announced that it has entered into a settlement with the advisory firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers Regulatory Advisory Services (“PwC“) over anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance advice it provided to the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi (“Bank of Tokyo“). PwC is suspended for two years from accepting consulting work [...]

New beneficial ownership rules in the US to require disclosure of shareholders of private entities in a move towards G20/G8 financial transparency

New Beneficial Ownership Rules By Christine Duhaime, B.A., J.D., Financial Crime and Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist Follow @cduhaime FinCEN has released draft rules under the Bank Secrecy Act to identify the legal and beneficial shareholders (the natural persons) of private corporate entities (also known as legal persons). In other words – the disclosure of natural persons involved in [...]