Cyber, AML Lessons From a Crypto Flop

New York financial regulators have served up another case study in poor cybersecurity, transaction monitoring, and anti-money laundering compliance, courtesy of an enforcement action against a bankrupt cryptocurrency platform found to be deficient in all three. The state’s Department of Financial Services announced the sanction against Genesis Global Trading last Friday, fining the company $8…

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Deutsche Bank Fined for Slow Compliance Fixes

Deutsche Bank

The Federal Reserve has slapped Deutsche Bank with a $186 million penalty for failing to fix problems in its anti-money laundering compliance program that were originally flagged in the mid-2010s and related to Deutsche Bank’s sketchy relationship with Danske Bank, a former haven for Russian oligarchs. The Fed announced the enforcement action on Wednesday. In…

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Danske Bank Pays $2.4B on AML Failures


Danske Bank, the Danish bank now infamous for allowing one of the largest money laundering schemes in history during the 2000s and 2010s, pleaded guilty to fraud charges in U.S. federal court today and agreed to pay more than $2 billion in criminal penalties and other monetary fines. Danske will pay $2.06 billion in criminal…

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Robinhood Crypto Compliance Meltdown


New York financial regulators have issued a scorcher of an enforcement action against Robinhood, hitting the online trading app with a $30 million for allowing a weak compliance program that, in turn, allowed a wide range of other compliance failures. The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced the sanction on Tuesday. The precise…

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USAA, Part II: Staffing Levels and SARs


Today I want to circle back to that civil settlement that banking regulators struck with USAA last month, where they fined USAA a total of $140 million and imposed a raft of compliance program improvements that USAA needs to make double-quick. What do those demands tell us about how corporate compliance programs should operate? First,…

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FinCEN Offers Red Flags on Russia

Today we return to risks arising from the Ukraine crisis, because FinCEN has just published an alert warning financial firms to watch for transactions that might actually be Russians trying to avoid Western sanctions — including a list of red flags that AML compliance functions should keep on the radar screen. FinCEN published the 10-page…

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Financial Crime Compliance Costs Keep Going Up


The costs of financial crime compliance jumped sharply in 2020, as Covid-19 complications caused a host of challenges and forced lots of compliance officers to spend more money on labor, according to a new report from LexisNexis Risk Solutions. The report surveyed more than 1,000 compliance officers at financial firms around the world, and provides…

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Capital One Whacked on AML Failures

Talk about mistakes that come back to haunt you: Capital One just agreed to pay a $390 million penalty for anti-money laundering compliance failures in a check-cashing unit the bank hasn’t even owned for seven years.  The settlement was announced by FinCEN last Friday. The 22-page statement of facts is a tale of poor risk…

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AML Reform and Whistleblowers


I try to be as cynical as possible about Congress, but this week may be one of those rare times when lawmakers actually do something intelligent. They’re poised to overhaul the nation’s anti-money laundering laws in a dramatic way, with a potentially huge gift to compliance officers to boot. That overhaul is the Anti-Money Laundering…

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Gasp! A Compliance Conference!


Compliance officers, we need to talk. Something amazing just happened. It happened thousands of miles away from most of us, in the windswept city of Wellington, New Zealand. There, the New Zealand Financial Intelligence Unit — the country’s chief anti-money laundering agency, roughly equivalent to FinCEN here in the United States — held a compliance…

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