FinCEN’s Global Investigations Division to zero in on global money laundering in 2020


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FinCEN’s Global Investigations Division to focus on AML threats

The U.S. Treasury will ring in the new year with renewed AML emphasis in a new AML enforcement division: The Global Investigations Division.

The Global Investigations Division, a part of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), will focus on money laundering threats around the globe. And as a result, U.S. financial institutions will likely need to provide more customer information in related financial-crimes investigations.

Industry analysts see the creation of this new division, announced in August, as a sign of heavy emphasis on foreign money-laundering investigations in the new year.

A Wall Street Journal article predicts that FinCEN will “use its targeted investigative powers more frequently, including its authority under the Patriot Act to prohibit foreign banks from opening correspondent accounts with U.S. financial institutions…. Other powers include the ability to request information from banks on customer transactions, and to require additional disclosures on transactions made in certain U.S.”

According to FinCEN, the Global Investigation Division (GID) “will leverage FinCEN’s BSA authorities, including Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act, to investigate and target terrorist finance and money laundering threats, and GID will work more closely with foreign counterparts to coordinate actions against such threats when appropriate.”

Section 311, according to, grants the Secretary of the Treasury the authority, upon finding that reasonable grounds exist for concluding that a foreign jurisdiction, institution, class of transaction, or type of account is of “primary money laundering concern,” to require domestic financial institutions and financial agencies to take certain “special measures” against the entity of primary money laundering concern.


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