Another EU Money Laundering Directive, another tandem of smart HM Treasury women set to work: Lucies, French and Makinson, saw through the Third Directive and at the Institute of Money Laundering Prevention Officers conference, Marie-Anne Barnes set out a timetable for transposing Directive Number 4 into UK law, a task she will share with colleague, Melanie Knight. Changes to the Money Laundering Regulations in time for June 2017 is their remit, doubtless liaising closely with Home Office, which will lead on amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
The Financial Action Task Force is worried, and so are member governments: de-risking threatens to exclude swathes of business and consumers from banking services. Alan Osborn, in London, and Craig Howie, in Washington DC, examine the impact and response.
Be it hard metal or bits on a blockchain, any means to hold value will interest criminals and so, too, their strategic enemy, the Financial Action Task Force. Gold and virtual currencies both feature in new papers – typologies and guidance, respectively – emanating from FATF’s June plenary.
On 19 June 2015, the Council of the European Union determined to extend existing sanctions relating to the Russian financial, energy and defence sectors until 31 January 2016. It also extended  existing sanctions measures targeting dealings with Crimea and Sevastopol until 23 June 2016. The foregoing sanctions restrictions had been due to expire in the coming weeks, pursuant to sunset measures set forth in earlier EU Council Decisions under which the sanctions were issued.
Multi-million/billion dollar fines are only the beginning of a long haul back to compliant business: sceptical authorities want to be sure that the terms of deferred prosecution agreements are satisfied - a review and reporting role for the independent monitor. Nigel Coles, a managing director at Exiger, talks to MLB editor Timon Molloy about working between prosecutor or regulator and a firm in remediation.
Risks and Controls
India has passed a new law to help prosecutors pursue individuals who hide the proceeds of tax evasion in foreign bank accounts.
A problem shared is unlikely to mean a problem halved in AML/CFT and sanctions compliance but it may, at least, point a way forward and foster fellow-feeling, both worthy goals of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, which addressed a host of current challenges at its annual European conference in London. David Coates reports.
Belgium may be at the policy centre of AML/CTF, with Brussels home to the European Commission, source of draft EU ML Directives, but its record on translating words into effective practice is far from satisfactory according to the Financial Action Task Force: Sue Grossey checks its latest evaluation.
A recent Privy Council decision goes to the heart of what financial institutions should know about the commercial rationale behind transactions and the source of customers’ funds. Charles Sorensen and Ed Shorrock of Baker & Partners draw the lessons for due diligence.
On 19 June 2015 the High Court handed down judgment in Elaine Hmicho v Barclays Bank PLC  EWHC 1757 (QB). The ruling is important for all financial institutions, writes Zia Ullah of Eversheds, for the useful guidance it provides on the concepts of ownership and control in the context of international sanctions.
Tracking the flows of money that finance terrorist groups is both difficult and highly resource-intensive. An ever-growing problem, it is the source of much unease within the AML community, writes John Bryne, Executive Vice President of ACAMS, the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists. He looks at the tools and content available to help those in financial crime compliance.
That charities play an essential humanitarian role in conflict zones is a given; that they carry some risk of abuse by terrorists is also generally accepted – which leaves the financial institutions that service them having to trade off commercial, legal exposure and social responsibility imperatives, while HM Government watches from the sidelines. David Coates traces a destructive tension.
Legal / Regulatory
If HSBC’s anti-money laundering deficiencies were made public they could be “exploited by those who would promote criminal activity, transfer the proceeds of crime, or evade US sanctions”.
The pariah status of sanctions list designation is prompting targeted parties to fight for removal, with some notable successes in the European Court of Justice. Katherine Buckle of QEB Hollis Whiteman and Lennart Poulsen of 9 Bedford Row examine possible lines of attack.
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