Experts say the FinCEN files will help fight financial crime


A new financial sector survey finds widespread support for the idea that FinCEN Files The investigation will help fight global corruption.

The bulk of respondents said the BuzzFeed News series and the International Confederation of Investigative Journalists will have a positive impact on efforts to curb financial crime.

Responses are part of A questionnaire Of 340 insiders of banks, regulators, and other financial industry experts by the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, the largest organization of financial crime professionals in the world. The poll, released last week, touched on many of the issues these officials face every day – from the kind of guidance they receive from the Treasury to the tools they use to track financial crime.

The FinCEN files, an unprecedented look at global financial corruption and the banks and policies that enable it, were based on thousands of confidential “suspicious activity reports” from the Treasury. Before the series was published in September 2020, Treasury Department warned That the disclosures could “affect the national security of the United States” and “endanger law enforcement investigations.”

Now, after half a year, only 27% of those surveyed say they believe the effect will be negative. 46% of survey respondents said they believe the project will lead to increased regulatory scrutiny of financial institutions or voluntary strengthening of anti-corruption measures.

This finding was surprising, said Ross Delston, a lawyer and money laundering expert.

“It has become almost a religious principle to not detect SARs, not refer to them, and always protect them,” he said. “On that alone, I thought it would have made the compliance professionals apprehensive about any release of the information.”

“At first, it appears that FinCEN – the Treasury’s Financial Crime Enforcement Network – believes that the disclosure will harm their business. The fact is that it may confirm their work.”

Congress recently passed a huge document Law Filling a major loophole for money laundering, and prominent lawmakers have credited FinCEN files for helping to bridge it. The Corporate Transparency Act will make it more difficult for individuals to hide their identities behind so-called shell companies.

The industry continues to face severe challenges.

Nearly 80% said that periodic national guidance on how to combat money laundering “would be helpful”. Almost two-thirds suggested that regulators should give them better feedback on their reports. Nearly 65% ​​of respondents believe that there is a harmful “time lag” between suspicious financial transactions and when they are reported to the Treasury.

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