New Central Bank Guidance for UAE Financial Institutions on Suspicious Activity/Transaction Reporting

On June 7, 2021, the UAE Central Bank issued new guidance requiring all UAE financial institutions to file suspicious activity reports (SARs) or suspicious transaction reports (STRs) with the UAE’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) using the goAML portal within 35 calendar days of detection of any conduct that they reasonably suspect may be linked to money laundering, terror financing, or other criminal activity.  By the end of the first 20 calendar days, a case investigator must have analyzed the alert or other indicator of suspicion, conducted any further investigation that may be necessary, and made an internal recommendation to the MLRO as to whether an SAR/STR filing is…

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Anti-Money Laundering Act Update: Six Months In

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (“NDAA”) became law earlier this year, after a congressional override of then-President Trump’s veto.  Division F of the NDAA consists of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (“AMLA”).  The AMLA expands numerous Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) requirements, and FinCEN has been active in the first sixth months of the AMLA’s passage in issuing guidance, reports, and proposed regulations. Corporate Transparency Act: Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Included in the AMLA is the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”).  FinCEN issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in April, soliciting comments related to the beneficial ownership reporting provisions of the CTA.  Part…

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Anti-Money Laundering Act Update: Six Months In

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (“NDAA”) became law earlier this year, after a congressional override of then-President Trump’s veto.  Division F of the NDAA consists of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (“AMLA”).  The AMLA expands numerous Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) requirements, and FinCEN has been active in the first sixth months of the AMLA’s passage in issuing guidance, reports, and proposed regulations. Corporate Transparency Act: Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Included in the AMLA is the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”).  FinCEN issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in April, soliciting comments related to the beneficial ownership reporting provisions of the CTA.  Part…

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Preparing an application for the SBA’s Community Navigator Program, from a compliance perspective

The American Rescue Plan Act allocated $100 million to the Small Business Administration to be distributed to various “Hub” organizations to further disseminate among their “Spoke” partners. The purpose behind this funding structure is to better reach small businesses in underserved communities, which may not have received the full benefit of COVID-19-related economic relief in earlier legislation. To accomplish this goal, the SBA is launching the Community Navigator Program to partner with community organizations with stronger ties and relationships to such businesses. These community organizations— “Hubs”—will coordinate the activities of the Program and provide assistance to their partners—“Spokes”—which will in turn provide services to their respective communities. Isabella…

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia approves new Anti-Financial Fraud and Deceit Law

By Richard Gibbon and Malak Abbas, July 7, 2021 On April 30, 2021, Ministers in Saudi Arabia approved a new law, due to come into force in September of this year, which is designed to enhance the Kingdom’s efforts to combat financial crime. Cabinet Decision and New Law According to the Saudi Arabian Central Bank (the Saudi Monetary Authority, or SAMA) a fraud is “any act involving deceit to obtain a direct or indirect financial benefit by the perpetrator or by others with his help, causing a loss to the deceived party.” The new law for Combating Financial Fraud and Deceit, approved by Cabinet Decision No. 534/1442, builds…

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FinCEN and Federal Reserve Seek Comments on Proposed Amendments to the Recordkeeping and Travel Rules

On October 23, 2020, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the ‘‘Board’’) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) (collectively, the “Agencies”) issued a joint Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) soliciting public comment on questions relating to potential amendments to Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) regulations. The proposed amendments seek to modify the existing Recordkeeping Rule and Travel Rule by: Lowering the requirement to collect, retain, and transmit information on funds transfers and transmittals of funds from $3,000 to $250 for transactions that begin or end outside the United States; and Superseding the existing definition of money to include convertible virtual…

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FinCEN Imposes First of its Kind Civil Penalty against Cryptocurrency Money Service Business

On October 19, 2020, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released its assessment of a $60 million civil monetary penalty against the operator of two cryptocurrency “mixers” for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”).[1] The action marks the first effort by FinCEN to target the use of these “mixers” to facilitate money laundering and demonstrates FinCEN’s ongoing commitment to regulate entities that transmit cryptocurrencies as money service businesses (“MSBs”) under the BSA.[2] Factual Background: The action concerned Larry Dean Harmon (“Harmon”), a vendor on the “dark web” who operated a search engine, Grams. Grams allowed users to access and search the onion router network, commonly known as…

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DOJ Prioritizes Health Care Fraud in the Pandemic

The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) recently announced its largest ever health care fraud and opioid enforcement action.  In a coordinated effort, DOJ charged 345 defendants with more than $6 billion in fraud losses for submitting false and fraudulent claims to federal health care programs and private insurers. The nationwide enforcement operation has been in motion since April and is the product of inter-agency cooperation between the Criminal Division, Fraud Section’s Health Care Fraud Unit, the Health Care Fraud and Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force program, local U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, HHS-OIG, FBI, and DEA. While the opioid crisis has long been a target of federal prosecutors, it…

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