On 30 June, a news release from FinCEN advised that it had issued the first government-wide priorities for AML/CFT policy, following consultation with other relevant US Treasury offices, as well as Federal and State regulators, law enforcement, and national security agencies. They identify and describe the most significant AML/CFT threats currently facing the US and, in no particular order, these include: corruption, cybercrime, domestic and international terrorist financing, fraud, transnational criminal organisations, drug trafficking organisations, human trafficking and human smuggling, and proliferation financing. FinCEN has also issued 2 statements to provide guidance to covered institutions on how to approach the Priorities.
On 30 June, an article from Eversheds Sutherland says that the Act positioned the UK alongside the US as the countries with the most formidable anti-bribery legislation in the world and the most active enforcement. Its extra-territorial elements meant that the ramifications of the introduction of the Act was felt across the globe. The article looks at the impact that the introduction of the Act has had across the globe in terms of the introduction of similar legislation in other countries or invigorated law enforcement.
On 30 June, FATF published a report which focuses on the funding behind ethnically or racially motivated terrorism, also referred to as extreme right-wing terrorism. Extreme right-wing attacks have increased in recent years, highlighting the need to raise awareness about this complex phenomenon and its financing. It says that while most of these attacks were carried out by self-funded lone actors, but they can also involve small and medium organisations, as well as transnational extreme right-wing movements. Few countries have so far designated these groups or individuals as terrorists and there are differences in the countries’ legal regimes to addressing their activities. Extreme right-wing groups can obtain funding from criminal activity, but most funding comes from legal sources, such as donations, membership fees and commercial activities. The report encourages countries to continue to develop their understanding of this increasingly transnational criminal activity.
On 30 June, a post from the OFSI blog was concerned with applying for a licence from the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation to release otherwise frozen funds for legal fees or the maintenance of frozen funds or economic resources, and the term “reasonableness”. OFSI is legally obliged to ensure that those fees and expenses are “reasonable”. There are 2 licensing derogations that include a ‘reasonableness’ test – ‘legal services’ and ‘maintenance of funds or frozen resources’. The post outlines the types of questions that applicants may wish to consider when applying under these specific licensing grounds. The term ‘reasonable’ is a legal requirement both for OFSI to assess this and for applicants to provide evidence of why a payment is reasonable.