Money Laundering, Terrorism and Financial Institutions - USA Patriot Act Monitor

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02/16/2010 FinCEN Expands Information Sharing Coverage to Include Foreign Law Enforcement Agencies

Financial institutions can expect to begin receiving information sharing requests from foreign law enforcement agencies under rules adopted by FinCEN in February.  The rules were finalized after a one-month comment period that began with the issuance of proposed rules in November 2009.  The rush to adopt the rules was necessitated for treaty compliance, including a mutual legal assistance treaty with the EU.  Under that treaty and others, foreign law enforcement agencies will begin by submitting requests to a federal law enforcement attaché, who will then forward the request to FinCEN.  After FinCEN approves, the request will be given to U.S. financial institutions.  U.S. domestic law enforcement agencies will also gain access to foreign sources as a matter of treaty reciprocity, something they have been anxious to have.  The new rules also provide access under section 314(a) of the USA PATRIOT Act to state and local law enforcement agencies, and FinCEN itself may request information under the new rules independent of a request from a law enforcement agency.  FinCEN states that it needed this authority in order to improve its analytical abilities.  A full discussion of the new rules is contained in the February issue of the Monitor.


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