Fincrime Briefing: To truly tackle financial crime, FinCEN needs more authority, better technology, higher budget – Special report from GFI – CFCS


GFI suggestions would add more momentum to FinCEN, Congress efforts to strengthen AML

Law enforcement efforts to investigate, seize and freeze trillions of dollars in illicit accounts at less than one percent of this monumental transport, FinCEN, lawmakers have estimated in the United States and around the world. and banking lobby groups wielded political power to update the national AML. and remove criminal catalysts and obstacles to investigators, such as impenetrable property structures.

In the United States, the centerpiece of the nation’s efforts comes in the form of the recently passed Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), what many call a “once in a generation” event.

AMLA is built around the creation of richer and more relevant intelligence by financial crime compliance teams, more weapons and funding for FinCEN to analyze data to be explored for national and international criminal trends. and close the loop with stronger public-private information-sharing partnerships.

The initiatives are part of parallel efforts to finally root out the scourge of investigative agencies around the world: the proliferation of shell companies with owners hidden in the flesh, a magnet for criminal groups of all stripes, financiers from terrorism to the oily corrupt. from oligarchs, Nigerian fraudsters to drug traffickers.

AML enhances parallel initiatives from Congress to FinCEN.

They are part of a multi-dimensional approach by the US government to strengthen financial crime compliance countermeasures, move the needle to “efficiency” and create richer and more relevant intelligence for the forces. of the order.

Overall, the US Treasury is embarking on a complete and profound overhaul of the country’s financial crime compliance defenses.

For banks, anti-money laundering efforts would shift more towards creating “effective and reasonably designed” programs that produce deposits with a “high degree of usefulness” to law enforcement – even whether the term does not have a “consistent definition” in the current rules, according to a September Notice.

FinCEN also urges stakeholders to glean whether they could better manage risks, resources and threat actors if the office created national AML priorities – a similar refrain to AML – which would be informed by other published national risk assessments of illicit financing, proliferation and terrorism. during the last years.

To read the full Federal Register notice, click here.

Monroe’s thoughts: Unfortunately, according to GFI, many of these lofty upgrades, tectonic shifts, and potentially transformative approaches to better arm FinCEN could all be in vain without the most basic foundational support for the office: more money – a lot more money. silver.

The AML expert group hired by GFI agreed that FinCEN’s current $ 127 million budget is “far too small to provide the people, skills and technology needed to meet today’s challenges let alone those of the 2030s ”.

Even with a modest bump in the congressional AML update, the consensus within the group is that “the budget should follow the agency’s function and this can only be determined with bottom-up review.” about its mission and how it hopes to be effective in the future. “

FinCEN is one of, if not the most important, government agencies when it comes to the country’s ability to investigate domestic and international money laundering syndicates.

It should therefore finally gain the attention, government stature and financial support it needs to better capture data, analyze the repositories it has, come together, communicate and coordinate with fraternal agencies, and offer advice and guidance. leadership needed by private sector financial institutions to stop the illicit financial flows that support criminal groups around the world.

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