Bank of America gets a pat on the back for going beyond an “observe and report” approach to filing a SAR, and we learned this week that Wells Fargo’s CEO needs a little unconscious bias training.
The damning revelations from the “FinCEN Files” leaks have once again put Europe and its supposed world-leading anti-money laundering rules under the spotlight.
Westpac is bracing for a record AUS$1.3 billion (U.S. $912.6 million) civil penalty issued by Australia’s financial crime regulator related to a money-laundering scandal and the facilitation of child exploitation in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
The “FinCEN Files” report raises the question: What should banks be doing to address the trillions of dollars’ worth of banking transactions that are facilitating criminal activity every year?
Martin Woods, who has analyzed many of the suspicious activity reports released as part of the “FinCEN Files,” offers best practices for compliance officers in writing SARs.
Compliance has been taking some heat in the wake of the “FinCEN Files” reports, but it’s banks’ senior leadership that failed, not the folks filing all those SARs.
The “FinCEN Files” leaks divided opinions within the community of financial crime compliance officers. Trust has been damaged, writes Martin Woods, but these leaks could facilitate real reform.
The BuzzFeed “FinCEN Files” investigation purportedly uncovered evidence of a catastrophic, international collapse of internal controls within the world banking system. But that argument is misleading, to the point of being disingenuous.
Swedbank announced the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority has opened an investigation into the bank for potential violations of the regulation on market abuse in connection to the disclosure of suspected money laundering.
Who faces liability when a Bank Secrecy Act program is deemed to be deficient? A series of recent enforcement actions taken by the OCC against individuals at a now-defunct New Jersey bank provides a case study.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has proposed a plan to issue AML guidance every two years to encourage financial institutions to align their Bank Secrecy Act compliance programs with the agency’s enforcement priorities.
As artificial intelligence evolves and takes on new tasks, whether it can develop the instinct of an experienced compliance professional will be key to its prevalence in the AML world, writes Martin Woods.
The AML community is guilty of tolerating the failing status quo, and very few have dared to confront, challenge, and disrupt the inefficient and ineffective practices. A proactive approach could be the solution, writes Martin Woods.
How do we, as AML professionals, assess negative media alerts? It should start with a conversation with the client relationship manager, but it shouldn’t end there, writes Martin Woods.
The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority seeks comment on a new proposal that would widen the scope of its annual financial crime reporting obligations to include firms whose regulated activities potentially pose a higher money laundering risk.
Financial crimes expert Martin Woods writes that, in his experience, the big consultancy firms have made a substantial negative contribution to global AML endeavors.
Five federal regulatory agencies issued a reminder to banks and financial institutions that they should continually monitor risks associated with the accounts of foreign officials.
If you’re in search of proof that what you do matters, look no further than the AML efforts of HSBC in preventing $500 million from reaching the bank accounts of criminals, writes Martin Woods.
Two strikes and you’re out, say four federal agencies to repeat violators of Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering compliance requirements.
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision recently issued an updated version of its guidelines on sound management of risks related to anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.
Interactive Brokers has agreed to pay $38 million in settlements with three regulatory agencies related to anti-money laundering lapses, including repeated failures regarding the filing of suspicious activity reports.
The U.K. Serious Fraud Office announced it has secured orders confiscating £5.45 million (U.S. $7 million) from two former executives of oil and gas exploration company Afren.
The International Compliance Association announced a partnership with the Mongolia Compliance Association to offer a bespoke e-learning program to 12 professional associations and their 10,000-plus members in compliance-related roles.
For the global AML community, there is a need to recognize too much valuable time is spent filing too many low-value suspicious activity reports that will never become the subject of any law enforcement action, writes Martin Woods.
The Financial Conduct Authority’s fine of £37.8 million (U.S. $47.5 million) on Commerzbank’s London branch is a reminder that the most fundamental risk-based AML controls are still not being implemented at some financial services firms.
There are times when it is a necessary to consider where clean money is going to as much as where dirty money may have come from, writes financial crime expert Martin Woods.
The International Compliance Association announced a partnership with the Mexican Association of Ethics and Compliance Professionals to offer the ICA’s full suite of accredited qualifications in Mexico.
One way to thwart money launderers is to take a page from the government’s playbook and examine smartphone applications when the contamination of fraud or money laundering is discovered.
Trade-based money laundering was already happening prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but now its nature has shifted. The ICA offers key considerations for managing emerging risks.
Companies doing business in Mexico face an uphill battle with their anti-corruption compliance efforts as the country’s government struggles to control—and, in many cases, contributes to—its endemic corruption problem.
Sweden’s financial watchdog was fined SEB $107 million for weak governance practices related to the bank’s anti-money laundering controls in its Baltics subsidiaries.
Scientists and doctors cannot succeed or make medical breakthroughs without being prepared to fail. The same approach should be taken to combating anti-money laundering, writes financial crime expert Martin Woods.
Commerzbank London will pay a £37.8 million (U.S. $47.4 million) penalty in a settlement with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority for anti-money laundering systems and controls failures.
The answer to being more effective at stopping money launderers is to challenge the value of processes that are clearly failing. Financial crime expert Martin Woods explains.
By balking at original allegations, Westpac opened itself to infinitely more harm, writes financial crime expert Martin Woods.
Denmark’s financial regulator has filed a criminal complaint against Danske Bank for violating market abuse regulations concerning inadequate market monitoring and opposite trades.
CCOs looking to navigate the fluid corruption risk environment in Latin America will want to review a newly released report on how countries are uncovering, punishing, and deterring corruption—particularly now, amid a pandemic.
Compliance officers must let go of the fear that often accompanies respect for big money (or luxurious aircrafts) and hold the difficult conversations when ferreting out bad actors, writes financial crime expert Martin Woods.
Europol has created the new European Financial and Economic Crime Center, with the aim of enhancing operational support to EU member states and EU bodies in the fields of financial and economic crime.
An internal report outlining compliance failures by Australia-based financial institution Westpac that led to 23 million breaches of the country’s AML/CTF laws concluded “a mix of technology and human error” were to blame.
“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked,” said Warren Buffett. With the pandemic tide out, here are some related frauds that are likely already occurring that corporations should be watching for.
Financial crime expert Martin Woods explores what happens when the annual bonus causes employees to disregard their values for want of a dollar.
Denmark’s state prosecutor has dropped its investigation into whether Big Four firm EY violated anti-money laundering laws in connection with its audit of Danske Bank.
Amid a money-laundering investigation and faced with allegations of facilitating child exploitation in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, Westpac has appointed a new head of financial crime compliance.
Financial crime expert Martin Woods reviews the “cum-ex” scandal and how a recent action plan from the European Banking Authority aims to help stop such schemes from burgeoning.
The European Commission’s new six-point plan highlights what measures the agency will take to enforce, supervise, and coordinate EU rules on combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
The Department of Justice reached a settlement to recover more than $49 million in assets associated with the international money laundering and bribery scheme involving Malaysia’s state development fund 1MDB.
All cyber-attacks leave a trail. These trails can be complex, of course, but the criminals cannot avoid them. Thus, they leave a supply chain of intelligence and data.
If a bank or a firm cannot execute on the simple things, such as cash transaction reporting, there is little reason to be confident of compliance in other more complex and challenging areas.
Israel’s largest bank and its Swiss subsidiary will pay a total of $904 million in separate DOJ settlements related to (1) a massive tax-evasion scheme and (2) its role in a money-laundering conspiracy with FIFA.