AML


Nailedit1200x800

BoA a silver lining in damning ‘FinCEN Files’ report; Wells Fargo CEO puts foot in mouth

2020-09-25T20:27:00+01:00By Compliance Week

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.

Europe

‘FinCEN Files’ show Europe’s AML efforts maybe aren’t so world class

2020-09-25T17:18:00+01:00By

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

Westpac set to pay record $912.6M civil penalty for AML failures

2020-09-25T15:53:00+01:00By

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.

Bank confusion

‘FinCEN Files’ fallout: Where do banks go from here?

2020-09-24T19:40:00+01:00By

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?

woods

FinCEN leaks impart key lessons on basics of writing SARs

2020-09-23T20:34:00+01:00By

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.

Boss

‘FinCEN Files’ highlight bank leadership flaws, not compliance flaws

2020-09-23T19:14:00+01:00By

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.

woods

FinCEN leaks damage trust between banks and regulators, but serve higher purpose

2020-09-22T15:17:00+01:00By

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.

Suspicious activity

‘FinCEN Files’ report casts compliance officers in unfair light

2020-09-21T21:19:00+01:00By

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

Swedbank being investigated for suspected market abuse

2020-09-21T16:24:00+01:00By

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.

Bank fail

Recent OCC case shows widespread liability when a BSA program fails

2020-09-18T19:13:00+01:00By

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.

AML-Europe

FinCEN seeking comment on AML program overhaul

2020-09-17T18:44:00+01:00By

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.

woods

Gut instinct keeps humans ahead of AI in fight against financial crime

2020-09-11T17:44:00+01:00By

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.

woods

Forget the status quo: Proactive AML is the path forward

2020-09-04T16:05:00+01:00By

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.

woods

Best practices KYC: What to do when your client is in the headlines

2020-09-02T15:50:00+01:00By

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.

Money laundering

FCA proposes expanding scope of financial crime reporting obligations

2020-09-01T19:44:00+01:00By

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.

woods

We’re losing the war on AML, and big consultancies aren’t helping

2020-08-25T15:57:00+01:00By

Financial crimes expert Martin Woods writes that, in his experience, the big consultancy firms have made a substantial negative contribution to global AML endeavors.

Bankatrisk

Banking regs reemphasize rules for monitoring accounts of foreign officials

2020-08-24T18:06:00+01:00By

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.

HSBC

Hat tip to HSBC for stopping money laundering, saving lives

2020-08-18T14:36:00+01:00By

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.

Federal Reserve

Federal banking regs clarify BSA/AML compliance violation response

2020-08-14T18:00:00+01:00By

Two strikes and you’re out, say four federal agencies to repeat violators of Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering compliance requirements.

Money laundering

Basel Committee issues final AML risk management guidance

2020-08-11T17:49:00+01:00By

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.

Investigate

Interactive Brokers to pay $38M for SAR, AML failures

2020-08-10T18:05:00+01:00By

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.

British pounds

SFO confiscates $7M from ex-Afren execs in fraud case

2020-08-05T17:41:00+01:00By

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.

ICA, Mongolian Compliance Association launch bespoke qualification

2020-08-03T18:39:00+01:00By GRC Announcements

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.

Paperwork overload

SARs overload slowing efforts to combat financial crime

2020-07-29T14:43:00+01:00By

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.

Commerzbank

Commerzbank fine demonstrates danger of AML lapses

2020-07-16T17:57:00+01:00By Jake Plenderleith, International Compliance Association

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.

Money

Analysis: When clean money is used for dirty purposes

2020-07-10T16:28:00+01:00By

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.

ICA, AMPEC partner on Mexico expansion

2020-07-09T15:37:00+01:00By GRC Announcements

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.

PhoneInvestigator

Analysis: Following the telephone trail to detect fraudsters

2020-07-06T14:21:00+01:00By

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.

Money laundering

Managing emerging trade-based money laundering risks

2020-07-02T14:38:00+01:00By Jake Plenderleith, International Compliance Association

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.

MexicoAntiCorruption

Mexico’s war on corruption an uphill battle for compliance officers

2020-06-29T15:34:00+01:00By

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.

SEB

Following $107M fine for lax controls, SEB shares AML efforts

2020-06-26T16:52:00+01:00By

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.

Money laundering

Analysis: Learning to learn from our mistakes with AML

2020-06-19T14:40:00+01:00By

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

FCA fines Commerzbank London $47.4M for AML failures

2020-06-17T16:45:00+01:00By

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.

Money laundering

Analysis: Path to effective AML is doing less with more

2020-06-16T16:28:00+01:00By

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.

Westpac

Analysis: Let Westpac’s missteps be a cautionary tale

2020-06-12T16:24:00+01:00By

By balking at original allegations, Westpac opened itself to infinitely more harm, writes financial crime expert Martin Woods.

Danske

Danske faces criminal complaint over market abuse violations

2020-06-11T17:18:00+01:00By

Denmark’s financial regulator has filed a criminal complaint against Danske Bank for violating market abuse regulations concerning inadequate market monitoring and opposite trades.

LatinAmericaFlags

A country-by-country analysis of anti-corruption efforts in Latin America

2020-06-10T19:44:00+01:00By

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.

Jet plane

Analysis: Don’t ignore financial misconduct in ‘plane’ view

2020-06-09T17:02:00+01:00By

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

Europol launches new financial and economic crime body

2020-06-08T16:33:00+01:00By

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.

Westpac

Westpac outlines compliance failures that led to AML breaches

2020-06-05T16:27:00+01:00By

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.

Fraud cartoon

How to scour your organization for pandemic fraud risks

2020-06-04T15:40:00+01:00By

“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.

DangledCarrot

Analysis: When a bonus becomes less incentive, and more compromise

2020-06-02T16:17:00+01:00By

Financial crime expert Martin Woods explores what happens when the annual bonus causes employees to disregard their values for want of a dollar.

EY

Investigation into EY’s audit of Danske Bank dropped

2020-06-01T17:40:00+01:00By

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.

Westpac

Westpac announces more executive changes amid investigation

2020-05-20T19:00:00+01:00By

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.

AML-Europe

Analysis: Fraud in Germany propels new European AML plan

2020-05-18T15:54:00+01:00By

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.

EU-AML

EC unveils six-point plan to tackle money laundering

2020-05-13T17:49:00+01:00By

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.

PayTheMan

Justice Department to recover more than $49M involving 1MDB

2020-05-07T15:18:00+01:00By

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.

bitcoin laundering

Cyber-criminals have supply chains, too

2020-05-06T20:02:00+01:00By

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.

Westpac

Lesson from Westpac: If you can’t do the simple things correctly, watch out

2020-05-05T16:59:00+01:00By

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.

MoneyFine

Bank Hapoalim’s bad day: $904M in tax evasion, FIFA fines

2020-05-01T18:05:00+01:00By

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.