The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network launched an information exchange program to help banks deal with financial threats.
FinCEN said earlier this month the exchange will work “in close coordination with law enforcement.”
The program will include regular briefings with financial institutions to exchange information on “priority illicit finance threats.”
FinCEN said it hopes the exchange will help it and law enforcement receive information “to disrupt money laundering and other financial crimes.”
Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said: “Strong public-private partnerships and two-way information sharing is a crucial component of our efforts to combat the sophisticated money laundering methods and evolving threats we face today.”
She said the exchange program “can help identify vulnerabilities and disrupt terrorist financing, proliferation financing and other financial crimes.”
FinCEN already collects financial intelligence from financial institutions. Those include casinos, banks, insurance companies, money services business, mortgage companies, precious metals and jewelry dealers, and securities and futures companies.
The financial institutions’ participation in the new exchange program is strictly voluntary, FinCEN said. And the exchange doesn’t introduce any new regulatory requirements.
“It also does not replace or otherwise affect existing mechanisms by which law enforcement engages directly with the financial industry,” FinCEN said.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.
Good to see the US building on the contextual briefings previously provided under the PATRIOT Act, seemingly by adopting some of the lessons from the UK’s Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (JMLIT).
Both initiatives are part of a global trend of financial information sharing partnerships, as promoted by the 2016 London Anti-Corruption Summit and highlighted recently by a Royal United Services Institute report (https://rusi.org/publication/occasional-papers/role-financial-information-sharing-partnerships-disruption-crime).
The US was one of the first movers, followed by the UK and Canada and last year by Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. This could impact on bribery and corruption enforcement, as this country grouping is almost identical to members of the International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre (IACCC).
However, to realise the full potential of these partnerships will require linking up the different national initiatives, as well as aligning the various procedural and data protection regimes.
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