FinCen Employee Arrested and Charged for Illegally Disclosing SARs

Arrest of FinCEN employee for SARs disclosure The US government has arrested an employee of FinCEN for providing copies of suspicious activity reports (“SAR”)  illegally to the media. SARs disclosure is illegal  SARs are required to be filed and submitted by certain reporting entities, such as banks, to FinCEN when the bank or its employees, have [...]

FinCEN issues money laundering advisory for Iran’s use of Bitcoin and digital currencies

FinCEN has issued an advisory for Iran that specifically is targeted for digital currency exchanges, banks and foreign banks so that the latter can understand their obligations under the correspondent banking system. The advisory is interesting because it is one of first instances of an attempt to provide guidance to foreign banks in respect of the [...]

Bitcoin programmer and seller indicted in US for money laundering

A Bitcoin seller was arrested in the US on Friday and charged with 31 offences including international money laundering, operating an illegal digital currency exchange, failing to have an anti-money laundering program in place and structuring transactions. 21-year-old Jacob Campos was a developer at Edge Wallet and a Bitcoin trader who sold Bitcoin in the [...]

Do foreign digital currency exchanges taking US customers online have to be AML registered in the US?

Do foreign digital currency exchanges that take US customers online have to be AML registered in the US? Not unsurprisingly, the answer is yes. Under US law, digital currency ​exchangers​ qualify as money transmitters and are subject to the obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act. Key concepts to know are that: An exchanger is a person engaged [...]

Foreign digital currency exchange fined $110M in US for anti-money laundering law failures

For the first time ever, the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FINCEN“), has asserted jurisdiction over a foreign digital currency exchange, BTC-E, for the purposes of fines, and assessed civil penalties for anti-money laundering law failures under the Bank Secrecy Act in the amount of $110,003,314. In July of this year, BTC-E and its founder, [...]

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 [...]