Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Wednesday, 12 August 2020

US citizen reaches $5,000 settlement with OFAC over Colombian narcotics trafficker relationship

A US citizen has agreed to pay $5,000 to the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to resolve allegations they engaged in 24 transactions with a foreign specially designated narcotics trafficker. 

OFAC said on 11 August that the US citizen, a former member of the US army, entered into a relationship with the designated individual while stationed in Bogotá, Colombia, in 2015 and bought them jewellery, meals and other gifts amounting to $3,300 in value.

These transactions constituted a violation of Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations, OFAC said.

The agency said the US citizen failed to exercise caution despite knowing the trafficker was a designated individual but considered their lack of prior experience with sanctions compliance as a mitigating factor.

UBS drops Venezuelan clients over US sanctions concerns

Swiss bank UBS has decided to cut ties with a number of Venezuelan clients who have links to the country’s government or its state-owned energy company because of concerns over the banks continued compliance with US sanctions, according to Bloomberg.

The bank reportedly decided the compliance risk of retaining the client relationships was too high to maintain after conducting an internal review.

Nearly 20 investment managers with Venezuelan clients have reportedly left the bank in the last year as the US has ramped up its enforcement of economic sanctions targeting the troubled South American country’s leadership.

Malta fines FIMBank over AML failures

Malta’s Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) has fined local lender FIMBank €168,943 for deficiencies in its anti-money laundering framework. 

The FIAU said on 5 August that a 2018 on-site inspection revealed that the bank had failed to monitor risk factors associated with countries its clients operated in and did not maintain adequate customer records or sufficiently scrutinise transactions. 

The agency said it took into account that the bank had started implementing remedial actions to address the shortcomings at the time of the review, which included introducing a new anti-money laundering monitoring system. 

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