Banks Facing Criminal AML Probe Should Adopt Open but Proactive Approach, Lawyers Say

By Matt Squire

The prospect of facing criminal prosecution for anti-money laundering failures can send shivers up the collective spines of financial institutions and their senior management and compliance staffs. A federal indictment could be the death knell for a bank, as was the case for Washington, D.C.-based Riggs Bank in 2005. But institutions can take steps to minimize the chances of an indictment from the U.S. Justice Department, legal experts say. Knowing and adhering to federal prosecution guidelines and giving "unfettered cooperation" to prosecutors are the best defenses against indictment and can help secure a less painful deferred prosecution agreement. "You have...