On January 1, 2020, the Senate voted to override President Trump’s veto of the annual military policy bill (the National Defense Authorization Act – NDAA). Division E of the Act is the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (the AMLA or Act), which contains a number of international enforcement elements. This post discusses selected international enforcement aspects, except for the beneficial owner/entity transparency provisions that were discussed in the December 2020 issue of the International Enforcement Law Reporter.
Increased Authority to Issue and Enforce Correspondent Account Subpoenas
The Act increases the ability of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Treasury’s authority to issue and enforce correspondent account subpoenas under 31 U.S.C. § 5318(k). Before, the DOJ and Treasury could issue such subpoenas to any foreign bank with a correspondent account in the United States and could “request records related to such correspondent account.” The Act widens this authority to permit DOJ to request “any records relating to the correspondent account or any account at the foreign bank, including records maintained outside of the United States,” if the records are the subject of an investigation concerned a violation of U.S. criminal laws, a violation of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), a civil forfeiture action, or a Section 5318A investigation.
If a foreign financial institution does not comply, the Act authorizes the Attorney General to seek contempt sanctions from a court, and the Attorney General or Secretary of the Treasury may direct covered U.S. financial institutions to end their correspondent relationships with the non-compliant foreign financial and impose penalties on those institutions that fail to do so.
Pilot Project to Share SAR Information Internationally
FinCEN has promulgated guidance allowing sharing of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) information internationally with foreign parent organizations or U.S. affiliates in other countries. The Act requires the Treasury within one year after the enactment of legislation to issue rules that establish a pilot program for financial institutions to share information related to SARS “with the institution’s foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates for the purpose of combating illicit finance risks.”
The Act allows the Secretary of the Treasury to prohibit sharing with certain jurisdictions, such as state sponsors of terrorism, states subject to sanctions imposed by the U.S. government, or those the Secretary has determined cannot reasonably protect the security and confidentiality of such information.
Provisions on Cryptocurrency and Antiquities Dealers, Advisors, and Consultants
The Act adds to the definition of financial institution and money transmitting businesses under the BSA, which are subject to anti-money laundering due diligence, businesses engaged in the exchange of transmission of “value that substitutes for currency.”  The Act also expands the definition of financial institution to include antiquities dealers, advisors, and consultants.
The Act requires Treasury to prepare a study within one year that evaluates money laundering and terrorist financing through the art trade, including the markets that should be subject to regulation, the extent to which the regulations, if any, should target high-value trade in works of art, and “the need, if any, to identify persons who are dealers, advisors, consultants, or any other persons who engage as a business in the trade in works of art.”
Foreign Financial Intelligence Unit Liaisons (FFIUL)
- 6108 of the Act requires the appointment of not more than six FFIULs, co-located in a U.S. embassy, U.S., or a foreign government facility, among other things, to facilitate capacity building and outreach on AML/CFT regulatory and analytical frameworks; and coordinate with representatives of the DOJ at US Embassies.
- 6112 of the Act requires the Secretary of the Treasury to work with foreign counterparts, including bilateral contacts, the Financial Action Task Force, the IMF, the World Bank, the Egmont Group of FIUs, the OECD, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, and the UN, to promote stronger AML frameworks.
Financial Services De-Risking
- 6213 of the Act states Congress supports effective measures to stop the flow of illicit funds and promote AML/CFT and sanctions goals, and AML/CFT and sanctions policies that do not unduly hinder or delay the efforts of legitimate humanitarian organizations to fulfill the needs of humanitarian crisis, prevent or alleviate human suffering. § 6213(c) requires the GAO to conduct a de-risking analysis and evaluate the effect of AML/CFT on individuals and entities, including charities, embassy accounts, money-service businesses, and correspondent banks that have been subject to categorical de-risking by financial institutions operating in the U.S. and or otherwise have difficulty accessing or maintaining certain financial services in the U.S. and evaluate the consequences of financial institutions de-risking entire categories of relations with individuals and entities mentioned above in this section. The GAO should propose changes to those requirements resulting in de-risking.
GAO Study on Fighting Illicit Networks and Detecting Human Trafficking and Drug Trafficking
- 6504(c) of the Act requires the GAO to study how a range of payment systems and methods, including virtual currencies in online marketplaces, are employed to facilitate human trafficking and drug trafficking.
Treasury Study and Report on Trade-Based Money Laundering
- 6505 of the Act requires Treasury to conduct a conduct a study, in consultation with appropriate private sector stakeholders, academic and other international trade experts, and Federal agencies, on trade-based money laundering and proposed strategies to combat trade-based money laundering.
Treasury Study and Strategy on Money Laundering by the PRC
- 6506 of the Act requires the Treasury to conduct a study, relying substantially on information obtained through the trade-based money laundering analyses of the GAO, on, inter alia, the extent and effect of illicit finance risk relating to the PRC Government and Chinese firms, and a strategy to counter Chinese money laundering.
Treasury Study on Efforts of Authoritarian Regimes to Exploit the Financial System of the U.S.
- 6507 of the Act requires the Treasury Secretary and Attorney General, in consultation with the heads of other relevant national security, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies, to conduct a study for Congress on how authoritarian regimes in foreign countries and their proxies use the financial system of the U.S., inter alia, to: “(1) conduct political influence operations; (2) sustain kleptocratic methods of maintaining power; (3) export corruption; (4) fund nongovernmental organizations, media organizations, or academic initiatives in the United States to advance the interests of these regimes; and (5) otherwise undermine democratic governance in the United States and the partners and allies of the United States.” The study should make recommendations for legislative or regulatory action, or regulatory action, or steps to be taken by U.S. financial institutions that would address exploitation of the financial system of the U.S. by foreign authoritarian regimes.
Kleptocracy Assets Recovery Reward Act
- § 9701-03 of Division H of the NDAA establishes the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Program in the Department of the Treasury, and authorizes appropriations for the purpose of paying rewards under the program.
Combating Russian Money Laundering
- § 9711-9714 of Division H of the NDAA requires a report if the Secretary of the Treasury determines that certain institutions, transactions, or money laundering activities require domestic financial institutions or domestic financial agencies to take special measures described in 31 U.S.C. § 5318A(b), and permit implementation of such special measures. These provisions would enable Treasury to impose special measures on transactions emanating from Russia, certain Russian financial institutions, and/or certain categories of transactions.
The current issue of the IELR will have a more comprehensive discussion of the AMLA and related provisions.
 31 U.S.C. § 5318(k)(3)(A).
 AMLA, § 6308 (31 U.S.C. § 5318(k)(3)(A)(i) as revised).
 AMLA, § 6308 (31 U.S.C. §5318(k)(D), as revised).
 FinCEN, FIN-2010-G006, Sharing Suspicious Activity Reports by Depository Institutions with Certain U.S. Affiliates (Nov. 23, 2010), https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/shared/fin-2010-g006.pdf. FinCEN, Interagency Guidance on Sharing Suspicious Activity Reports with Head Offices and Controlling Companies, January 20, 2006 https://www.fincen.gov/resources/statutes-regulations/guidance/interagency-guidance-sharing-suspicious-activity-reports.
 AMLA, § 6212 (adding 31 U.S.C. § 5318(g)(8)(B)(i).
 AMLA, §6212 (adding 31 U.S.C. § 5318(g)(8)(C).
 AMLA, § 6102(d).
 AMLA, § 6111(e).
 AMLA, § 6108, adding 31 U.S.C. § 310(h).