12/15/2004 USA PATRIOT Act Monitor News Release: Unitary
Filing of Suspicious Activity and Blocking Reports Allowed by Interpretive Guidance
In interpretive guidance posted on FinCEN's website today (December 15, 2004), FinCEN indicates that a blocked transaction report filed with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) will, in certain circumstances, be deemed to satisfy SAR filing requirements. Although FinCEN had previously indicated that there was no unitary filing system, the agencies have reached an understanding whereby OFAC will provide information from such filings to FinCEN for inclusion in the latter's suspicious activity reporting database. FinCEN, in turn, will provide potentially important information to law enforcement. To take advantage of this unitary reporting, the blocked transaction report must involve a match with a party on an OFAC list, and the financial institution must not be in possession of additional information not included in the OFAC filing. The interpretive guidance indicates that it does not apply to blocking reports filed to report transactions and accounts involving persons owned by, or who are nationals of, countries subject to OFAC-administered sanctions programs, which should be the subject of SARs if reporting criteria are met. This interpretive guidance will be discussed in the January issue of the Monitor and in the forthcoming revision to Part II of Money Laundering, Terrorism and Financial Institutions.
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