The U.S. Justice Department will more aggressively use legal tools to freeze assets and detect financial wrongdoing as part of a larger strategy to combat international organized crime, the department said today. In a 16-page overview of the threats criminal groups pose and methods to fight them, the Justice Department identified abuse of the energy sector, cyberspace, securities exchanges and financial institutions as key concerns. To aid in that effort, the Justice Department will use non-law enforcement tools, including statutes allowing for the freezing of criminal funds and the application of diplomatic and other pressure. "It was famously said that...
By targeting Sigue Corp. rather than the affiliated agents where alleged money laundering took place, the Justice Department "squandered a golden opportunity" to go after the element of the MSB industry that presents the greatest laundering risks, an AML consultant says.
U.S. authorities have unfairly escalated the penalties for Bank Secrecy Act violations by overusing criminal proceedings in cases that should be considered civil matters to be solved by regulators, legal professionals say.
The Justice Department, following high-profile failures in terrorism-related cases is prosecuting suspected terrorists on lesser, white collar charges. That may resonate in the financial world as institutions find themselves under greater scrutiny for AML and counter-terrorism financing compliance.
Prosecutions and convictions citing 18 USC 1956, the primary money laundering statute, are up over 350 percent in 2007 from the previous year in cases involving national security and terrorism, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a Syracuse University organization.