Ukraine/Russia Sanctions: OFAC Authorizes Derivatives Linked to Prohibited Debt and Equity Under OFAC Directives 1, 2 or 3

Ukraine/Russia Sanctions: OFAC General License No. 1B Authorizes Derivative Transactions Linked to Prohibited Debt Under OFAC Directives 1, 2 or 3 On November 28, 2017, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued General License No. 1B under Executive Order 13,662.[i] General License 1B authorizes "[a]ll transactions by U.S. persons, wherever located, and transactions within the United States involving derivative products whose value is linked to an underlying asset that constitutes prohibited” debt issued by a party subject to the debt prohibitions of OFAC Directives 1, 2, or 3 or prohibited equity under Directive 1.[ii] As explained by OFAC, the changes implemented by General License 1B “relate to… Read More Continue Reading

Event: Hdeel Abdelhady to Speak on Managing Money Laundering, Trade Sanctions, and Corruption Risks

MassPoint’s Founder and Principal, Hdeel Abdelhady, will speak at a program on managing money laundering, trade sanctions, and corruption risks in business. The program, entitled “Know Your Business Partners: A Must to Managing Money Laundering, Trade Sanctions, and Corruption Risks,” will take place on November 17, 2017 in Washington, D.C. at the American Bar Association Business Law Section’s Fall 2017 Meeting.      

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Wolfsberg Group Updates Correspondent Banking Due Diligence Questionnaire

Wolfsberg Group Correspondent Banking Due Diligence Questionnaire 2017 The Wolfsberg Group, a group of thirteen global banks, on October 15, 2017 announced its issuance of a "comprehensively" updated Correspondent Banking Due Diligence Questionnaire (the "CBDDQ"). The CBDDQ responds to FATF Recommendation 13 on Correspondent Banking and is the international correspondent banking standard on which the Wolfsberg Group members have "settled", "committed to being early adopters of," and plan to support "with FAQ's and additional awareness raising materials." The Wolfsberg Group is making the CBDDQ available to the "banking community;" requests for the CBDDQ should be directed to the Wolfsberg Group Secretariat by email to ddq@wolfsberg-principles.com. *** Key excerpts from the Wolfsberg Group statement on the… Read More Continue Reading

Banks, Credit Unions and Other Financial Insitutions as Deputized Law Enforcement

From Anti-Money Laundering to Immigration Enforcement: Time to Reassess the Law Enforcement Role of Banks, Credit Unions and Other Financial Intermediaries.  “Credit unions are deeply committed to the fight against crime, but it is important to recognize we are not law enforcement agents and we have certain fundamental limitations.” This statement, made by the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of a major U.S. credit union in testimony before Congress in July 2017,[1] reflects the legal and regulatory requirements and expectations that banks, credit unions, money services businesses, and other financial intermediaries can, must, and should play a role in combatting the misuse of the financial system for illicit purposes.… Read More

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Hdeel Abdelhady Discussed the NYDFS Habib Bank Enforcement Action

MassPoint’s Founder and Principal, Hdeel Abdelhady, discussed the legal significance and potential commercial implications of the NYDFS’ enforcement action against Habib Bank at a time of correspondent banking derisking. Ms. Abdelhady stated that: “at any time, the loss a New York banking license and direct access to the U.S. financial system would be devastating, but the potential implications of the lost license may be greater now given that U.S. banks have steadily exited or limited foreign correspondent relationships in recent years, leaving foreign banks cut off from or with limited or costly access to the U.S. dollar and financial system.” Read Ms. Abdelhady’s full comments here in this comprehensive piece, by… Read More

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House Bill Would Establish National Strategy for Combating Terrorism Financing

On July 20, 2017, Representative Ted Budd (R-NC) introduced in the House of Representatives H.R. 3321, the “National Strategy for Combating Terrorist, Underground, and Other Illicit Financing Act.” The purpose of H.R. 3321 is to “require the establishment of a national strategy for combating the financing of terrorism and related financial crimes, and for other purposes.” As summarized by the House Financial Services Committee, which will meet to markup the bill on July 25, 2017, H.R. 3321 would among other measures “require the President, acting through the Treasury Secretary, to develop and publish a whole-of-government strategy to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.” The text of H.R. 3321 is available here.  ****  For more information about… Read More

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Congressional Hearing: Managing Terrorism Financing Risk in Remittances and Money Transfers

Congressional Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Terrorism Financing Risk in Remittances and Money Transfers  The U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee (the “FSC“) Terrorism and Illicit Finance Subcommittee will on July 18, 2017 hold a hearing entitled “Managing Terrorism Financing Risk in Remittances and Money Transfers.”  The FSC memorandum to all of its members states that the “hearing will explore the terrorist and illicit financing risks that are inherent in any form of asset transfer whether through formal banking channels, MSBs, other legitimate remittance networks, or through informal and unregulated value-transfer systems.”  Concerns about the terrorism financing risks posed by non-bank facilitated money transfers have been constant since 9/11. The FSC’s memorandum describing… Read More

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Do State Regulators Like the NYDFS Have Authority to Enforce OFAC Sanctions?

Robust Enforcement of OFAC Sanctions by Federal Authorities In recent years the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and other federal authorities have robustly enforced OFAC-administered sanctions against banks, particularly U.S. branches of foreign banks. Notable for their number, successiveness, and monetary penalty amounts imposed—often for U.S. sanctions and related violations, such as of the Bank Secrecy Act—these federal enforcement actions have nevertheless been overshadowed by state enforcement actions, in particular those of the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). NYDFS Enforcement of OFAC Sanctions  The NYDFS is the New York State agency with licensing, supervisory, and enforcement authority over, among others, New… Read More

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Basel Committee Clarifies Guidance on Countering Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in Correspondent Banking

Guidelines on Sound management of risks related to money laundering and financing of terrorism Snapshot Update June 7, 2017 Today the Bank for International Settlements' Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) issued "Guidelines on Sound management of risks related to money laundering and financing of terrorism" (the "Guidelines"). The Guidelines were issued "to describe how banks should include money laundering (ML) and financing of terrorism (FT) risks within their overall risk management." With respect to foreign correspondent banking, the Guidelines' clarifications are designed to respond to the withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships (derisking) that have adversely affected banks and, in some cases, entire regions. Accordingly, Annex 2 of the Guidelines includes a… Read More Continue Reading

China’s One Belt One Road Could Disrupt U.S. Legal Dominance

How China's One Belt One Road Will Open Trade Routes and Raise Barriers to U.S. Law Source: The Economist On May 14, 2017, President Xi Jinping of China outlined plans to fund China's One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. If successful, OBOR would alter the global trade landscape and, secondarily, likely curtail the global reach of U.S. law. The potential legal effects of the OBOR and other non-U.S. dollar- and Bretton Woods system-centric trade and finance initiatives were discussed in an earlier MassPoint Occasional Note. Given President Xi's fresh announcement of concrete plans to carry forward the OBOR project, MassPoint's earlier discussion of the project's potential curtailment of the global reach of… Read More Continue Reading