FinCEN on March 10 identified Banca Privada d’Andorra (BPA) as a foreign financial institution of primary money laundering concern pursuant to Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act. The determination was based on information that high-level managers at the BPA knowingly facilitated transactions. Specifically, FinCEN found that bank managers, in exchange for bribes, assisted third-party money launderers on behalf of transnational criminal organizations. The activity in question involved proceeds from organized criminals in China and Russia, foreign corruption and other criminal activity.
FinCEN warns financial institutions that third-party money launderers, including professional gatekeepers such as attorneys and accountants, can use their relationships with financial institutions to provide access to the financial system and to lend an “aura of legitimacy” to their transactions.
FinCEN is proposing an imposition of a special measure against BPA. As proposed, covered financial institutions would be required to notify foreign correspondents and take reasonable steps to ensure foreign correspondent accounts are not used by BPA. Comments are due May 12.