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

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5/14/2004 USA PATRIOT Act Monitor News Release: Two Syrian Banks Designated Of Primary Money Laundering Concern

In an announcement on May 11, the Department of the Treasury designated the Commercial Bank of Syria and its subsidiary, the Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank, as institutions of primary money laundering concern. The Treasury release stated that the Commercial Bank of Syria "had been used by terrorists and their sympathizers and acted a conduit for the laundering of proceeds generated from the illicit sale of Iraqi oil." Funds from the United Nation's Oil for Food program, according to Treasury, had also been diverted through accounts at these banks. Unlike the recent designations of Burmese (Myanmar) banks (as reported in an earlier Monitor release), Syria is not on the FATF list of non-cooperative countries and territories (the NCCT list). Nevertheless, this week President Bush signed an Executive Order declaring a national emergency with respect to Syria, authorizing Treasury to block property of certain persons and directing other U.S. Government agencies to impose a ban on exports to Syria. This development will be analyzed in detail in the forthcoming May issue of the Monitor.

The USA PATRIOT Act Monitor and the news releases prepared by the Monitor staff are services of the Civic Research Institute, publisher of Money Laundering, Terrorism, and Financial Institutions, by Raymond Banoun and John Ensminger. Contact and subscription information may be obtained at or by calling the Civic Research Institute at 609-683-4450 (fax: 609-683-7291).

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