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Top DOJ prosecutor named new FinCEN chief

The former head of the DOJ’s Criminal Division has been named director of the federal government’s main anti-money laundering agency.

Ken Blanco is the new Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

FinCEN is part of the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

Blanco  — former Acting Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ’s Criminal Division — will transition to FinCEN “in the next month,” a FinCEN release said.

FinCEN was set up in 1990. It develops “regulatory policy to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.” It collects financial intelligence from financial institutions — including casinos, banks, insurance companies, money services business, mortgage companies, precious metals and jewelry dealers, and securities and futures companies.

Some FinCEN rules require enhanced due diligence and reporting, such as for high-value cash real estate deals in some parts of the country.

Blanco takes over from Jamal El-Hindi, who had served as acting director.

FinCEN is part of the Egmont Group — 156 Financial Intelligence Units from more than 150 countries. Egmont Group members exchange expertise and financial intelligence to fight money laundering and terrorist financing.

Blanco joined the DOJ in 2008 as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of Florida. He later served as the deputy chief of narcotics/chief of the high intensity drug trafficking area, acting chief of narcotics, and deputy chief of the major crimes section.

He also served as General Counsel to the 94 United States Attorney’s Offices and the Executive Office of United States Attorneys, and as chief of the Criminal Division’s narcotic and dangerous drug section.
Before joining the DOJ, Blanco worked at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office in the organized crime section, the public corruption section, and the major narcotics section. 

He earned his JD from the Georgetown University Law Center and now serves there as an adjunct professor of law.

“I am excited to take my 28 years of prosecutorial experience with me to FinCEN, and to join a fabulous team at Treasury,” Blanco said.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

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