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Treasury may hit compliance officer with $5 million fine

The U.S. Treasury Department has notified a former compliance chief at MoneyGram International Inc. that he may face a fine of up to $5 million over the money-transfer company’s previously admitted failures to monitor transactions properly for illicit activity.

Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) sent a letter to Thomas Haider, MoneyGram’s chief compliance officer at the time of the anti-money laundering lapses, notifying him of the potential penalty, Reuters reported.

Reuters said Haider and his legal counsel are expected to meet with FinCEN officials in early May to argue he shouldn’t face a penalty.

FinCEN and Haider declined to comment but MoneyGram spokesperson Michelle Buckalew said the company “is not aware of whether (FinCEN) is planning to issue any penalty against any former MoneyGram employee.”

In November 2012, MoneyGram agreed to forfeit $100 million and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the Justice Department. In the DPA, MoneyGram admitted to criminally aiding and abetting wire fraud and failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program in violation of the Bank Secrecy Act.

CEOs, board members and compliance officers have been increasingly targeted for their roles in financial crime, recieving penalties on a individual basis by U.S. authorities.

In February, the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority suspended a former AML compliance officer for Brown Brothers Harriman, fining him $25,000 and assessing a record $8 million fine against the firm for its anti-money laundering failures.

In April 2013, the SEC brought a civil action against a former officer and board member of Siemens AG, Uriel Sharef, for his role in paying more than $27 million of bribes to senior government officials in Argentina.

Sharef agreed to pay $275,000 in civil fines.

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Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.

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