US extends GTOs for tracking money laundering in real estate

The US Treasury has announced that it is extending its Geographical Targeting Orders to identify purchasers of luxury real estate properties in six areas in the US. The GTOs require title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind shell companies used to pay all cash for high-end residential real estate. A Special Agent with the [...]

Does privilege really prevent lawyers from reporting money laundering?

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 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 [...]

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 [...]

The Jihad Express –> Gaziantep Turkey still ISIS’ conduit city of choice

Jihad Express Gaziantep, Turkey appears to have emerged as a city of choice for terrorist financing and human trafficking for the Islamic State (“ISIS“) in the past twelve months. Gaziantep is a city close to the Syrian border and is considered one of the key “porous” border towns, where people and goods illegally sold or [...]

Credit union fined over anti-money laundering controls of its money services business clients

The question every credit union has been asking for the past five years – namely, do we have anti-money laundering law obligations over the financial transactions of business clients that are money services businesses (“MSB“) – was just answered by FinCEN with a $300,000 fine. Last week, FinCEN assessed the fine against the North Dade [...]

Casino employee fined by FinCEN over anti-money laundering compliance issues

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN“) has fined a former manger of a US casino over anti-money laundering compliance violations. According to the Wall Street Journal, George Que, a former manger of VIP services at Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino, assisted high rollers at the casino to gamble outside of the Bank Secrecy Act reporting [...]

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 [...]

Thoughts on FinCEN Director’s speech on bank de-risking and the refusal of banking services to MSBs (and by implication, Bitcoin)

De-risking that results in unbankable businesses  By Christine Duhaime, B.A., J.D., Financial Crime and Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist Follow @cduhaime In a speech delivered to the anti-money laundering legal and law enforcement community, the Director of FinCEN, Jennifer Shasky Calvery, made some interesting and compelling comments that touch on the economic costs of anti-money laundering (“AML“) law, [...]

Wealthy immigration programs like EB-5 from China to US just got a lot less attractive with FATCA

According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, the IRS and the government of China are negotiating an agreement whereby the US would provide financial information to the government of China on Chinese foreign nationals living in the US. The information provided to China will likely include asset, financial, corporate and personal information in [...]