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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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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Maryland Banking Regulation: Commercial Bank Directors State Residency

Commercial banks in Maryland will soon have an added degree of latitude in selecting their directors. On April 18, 2017, Governor Hogan approved Maryland Senate Bill 206, Financial Institutions – Qualifications of Directors of Commercial Banks – Residency (the “Amendment”). The Amendment, which repeals and reenacts, with amendments, Section 3-403 of the Maryland Code, Financial Institutions Article, provides that “[a]t least 30% of the directors of a commercial bank shall be residents of this State.” The Amendment, which takes effect on October 1, 2017, will decrease, as of its effective date, the percentage of commercial bank directors that must be residents of Maryland. Current law requires that a “majority” of commercial bank directors be… Read More

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State-Owned Enterprises and Anti-Corruption Enforcement

Anti-Corruption Enforcement and State-Owned Enterprises: Understand Unique Risks and Incentivize Compliance State-owned enterprises (SOEs, including sovereign wealth funds) are prominent players in international business. Given their ownership, SOEs have garnered scrutiny for their lack of transparency and heightened anti-corruption and anti-money laundering risk, as have individual SOE executives and other personnel who qualify as Politically Exposed Persons. In connection with commercial activities, SOEs are not protected in most cases by sovereign immunity. Thus, SOEs can, like their privately-owned counterparts, be subject to foreign legal processes. Given the greater scrutiny around SOEs and some of the high profile enforcement actions involving them directly or indirectly (for example, the 1MDB case), anti-corruption… 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

U.S. Senators Raise National Security Concerns About Foreign Investment in U.S. Real Estate

U.S. Senators Ask GAO to Assess CFIUS' Approach to Foreign Investment in U.S. Real Estate Senators Seek Review of CFIUS' Capacity and Approach to "Full Range of National Security Issues" Posed by Foreign Investment in U.S. Real Estate On May 17, 2017, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH)—respectively ranking members of the Senate Finance; Homeland Security and Government Affairs; and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committees of the U.S. Senate—asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the approach taken by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to foreign investment in U.S. real estate and to "assess whether and how CFIUS… 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

Money Laundering and Lawyers’ Obligations After the Panama Papers

Event: Has the Legal Profession Lost its Moral Compass? The Panama Papers, Lawyers’ Professional Ethics and Due Diligence Obligations As Co-Chair of the Middle East Committee of the American Bar Association Section of International Law, MassPoint's Hdeel Abdelhady organized and will moderate a program on lawyers' obligations to detect and report illicit client activity, in particular money laundering. Lawyers in the EU, for example, have been required for years to perform client due diligence and file suspicious activity reports (SARs) in accordance EU anti-money laundering directives. U.S. lawyers have no parallel obligations; however, U.S. lawyers are prohibited by rules of professional conduct from knowingly allowing their services to be used for… Read More Continue Reading