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FinCEN Director Highlights Enforcement Efforts and Whistleblower Program at AML Symposium

Andrea Gacki, the Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), delivered a comprehensive overview of the agency's recent enforcement actions, emphasizing their role in addressing critical deficiencies within the U.S. anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing framework. Speaking at the Puerto Rican Symposium of AML, Gacki articulated FinCEN's proactive approach to enforcement under her tenure, which commenced in July.


FinCEN Director Highlights Enforcement Efforts and Whistleblower Program at AML Symposium

Gacki underscored the significance of recent enforcement efforts as part of a broader strategy to enhance compliance with AML/CFT regulations. She noted a marked increase in FinCEN's enforcement activity, reflecting a concerted effort to strategically allocate resources towards tackling financial crime.


"The agency has sought to drive compliance through enforcement," Gacki stated. "This is consistent with recent efforts across various workstreams to increase enforcement by strategically deploying our resources."


The Director highlighted FinCEN's landmark enforcement action against Binance, the largest ever in the agency's history, resulting in a $3.4 billion fine for the cryptocurrency exchange's repeated violations of AML laws. This penalty, part of a comprehensive $4.3 billion package, was the outcome of coordinated efforts with other federal agencies, including the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Department of Justice, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.


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Moreover, Gacki discussed other notable enforcement actions, including the $15 million penalty imposed on Bancrédito International Bank and Trust Corporation, the first-ever action against a Puerto Rican international banking entity, and the $1.5 million fine levied against Kingdom Trust Co. for inadequate AML controls. She also highlighted FinCEN's groundbreaking enforcement action against an individual BSA compliance officer, Gyanendra Asre, who faced a $100,000 fine for failure to maintain an effective AML program at a New York City-based credit union.


In addition to enforcement actions, Gacki emphasized the critical role of FinCEN's AML and sanctions whistleblower program in augmenting the agency's enforcement capabilities. "This program holds tremendous potential as an enforcement force multiplier," she said. "Whistleblowers have submitted information relating to some of the most pressing policy objectives of the United States, from Iran- and Russia-related sanctions evasion to drug trafficking to cybercrimes and corruption."


However, challenges remain regarding the effective implementation of the whistleblower program, as highlighted by concerns raised by three U.S. senators regarding the absence of a dedicated website for tip submissions and delays in the rulemaking process. "This is unacceptable," wrote Sens. Grassley, Warren, and Warnock.


Despite these challenges, Gacki expressed confidence in the program's efficacy and underscored FinCEN's unwavering commitment to combat financial crime and safeguard the integrity of the U.S. financial system through robust enforcement actions and collaborative initiatives.

By fLEXI tEAM

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