If you are looking for regular briefings on compliance news, want to stay up to speed with AML updates or hope to read key compliance bulletins and papers but don’t know where to start, today we offer a quick news roundup. What will follow is a snapshot of hot topics and a summary of the most important articles, analyses, papers and reports to give you the immediate takeaway you need.
Swiss Bank Julius Baer Sacks Employee Tied to FIFA Corruption
Swiss bank Julius Baer has dismissed one of its client advisers as part of its internal investigation into ties with world soccer’s governing body FIFA. The employee, who left soon after several soccer officials were arrested in Zurich last May, was the only member of the bank’s staff to be dismissed so far in connection with the probe.
“I can confirm to you that this employee has been dismissed,” spokesman Jan Vonder Muehll said by telephone, adding that the employee was terminated in summer 2015.
Baer said in June it had opened an internal investigation in connection with FIFA after the organization became embroiled in scandal. The bank said at the time that it was fully cooperating with the authorities.
FinCEN Updates List of AML/CFT Jurisdictions
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network released a revised list of the jurisdictions that are subject to countermeasures or enhanced due diligence due to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing deficiencies (Section I), as well as jurisdictions with AML/CFT deficiencies that are working to correct them (Section II).
Algeria was moved off the list for enhanced due diligence in recognition of progress made and added to the Section II list. Ecuador and Sudan were removed from the Section II list in recognition of their progress in remedying AML/CFT deficiencies.
Tighter AML Rules for Australia
Australia is considering tightening its anti-money laundering regulations to include real estate agents and precious stone dealers, sources said, following red flags from a global watchdog over potential illicit cash entering the country.
While tighter regulations would not be aimed at inflows from any one country, Australian authorities are reacting following a surge of cash from wealthy Chinese buyers looking for a safe haven away from the market turmoil of their home markets.
Property has long been on Chinese buyers’ radar, but in recent months they have been snapping up Australia’s rare pink diamonds, part of an unprecedented capital outflow from China that is rattling Beijing.
Normandie Casino to Plead Guilty to AML Violations
The operator of the Normandie Casino in Gardena, California agreed in court papers filed on the 22nd to plead guilty to charges that it violated anti-money laundering provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act. As part of an agreement with federal prosecutors, the casino agreed to pay nearly $2.4 million for failing to report large cash transactions to federal authorities.
In a plea agreement filed recently in United States District Court, the Normandie Club, the partnership operating the Normandie Casino, agreed to plead guilty to two felony offenses – failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program and conspiring to avoid reporting to the government the large cash transactions of some of the casino’s “high-roller” gamblers.
Under the plea agreement, prosecutors and the Normandie agree that the casino should pay the maximum fine of $500,000 for each of the two counts, which would result in a total fine of $1 million. Additionally, the casino agreed to forfeit to the government $1.38 million, which it admitted receiving in 2013 while failing to file Currency Transactions Reports.
Possible Corruption in Cricket
Cricket’s anti-corruption police are looking into whether one major global betting syndicate is behind three fixing cases being investigated around the world. Inquiries are at an advanced stage in South Africa, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong into fixers who have targeted international and domestic cricket.
All three cases are being investigated by cricket’s own anti-corruption detectives in partnership with police forces in each country.
Bank of China Under Fire for Money-Laundering Controls
Bank of China Ltd. must boost its money-laundering protections in the U.S. in response to a regulator’s enforcement action that cited deficiencies involving one of the world’s biggest lenders.
The yet-to-be-disclosed case was brought by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, according to a copy of the regulator’s order obtained by Bloomberg News. The OCC routinely leaves a bank’s specific transgressions out of enforcement actions, so the agreement doesn’t detail what Bank of China’s U.S. operations did wrong. The regulator hasn’t imposed a fine.
FINTRAC Penalizes Canadian Real Estate Broker
Group Mackay Inc., a real estate broker in Lachine, Quebec, was imposed an administrative monetary penalty of $34,175 on January 14 for violating the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) and the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Regulations (PCMLTFR).
Know Your Customer: PwC Quick Reference Guide – 2015
Record-breaking fines issued by regulators worldwide, notably in the U.S. and UK, have dominated the financial services landscape since 2012. It appears this will continue in the coming years if regulators identify further failings in firms’ compliance with money laundering, sanctions and tax requirements. Cultural changes toward compliance-driven objectives should be a key priority for financial services firms if they wish to avoid their reputation being tarnished by similar scandals.
Firms operating globally will also need to demonstrate a robust compliance framework, ensuring that each territory has sufficient oversight and that anti-money laundering (AML) regulatory requirements are being adhered to at both the local and international level. In light of the above, PwC has developed a know your customer (KYC) quick reference guide, which provides quick and easy access to global AML and KYC information to assist firms operating internationally in mitigating their risk.
2015’s guide has been expanded to include additional countries and incorporates the main local AML requirements. The guide details many regulatory and cultural issues that must be addressed when doing business across territories. Useful links to Financial Action Task Force (FATF) reports and country evaluations are also included. Additionally, there are questions on the topic of reporting requirements within the various territories, such as to whom suspicious activity should be reported, reporting obligations and any penalties for noncompliance. Information about whether local regulators support the use of the risk-based approach to AML, how to deal with politically exposed persons (PEPs) and whether doing business with shell banks is prohibited can all be found in the guide.
The full guide can be found here: http://www.pwc.com/en_GX/gx/financial-services/publications/assets/pwc-anti-money-laundering-2015.pdf