FinCEN Director Kenneth Blanco outlined the bureau’s implementation efforts since the enactment of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (the "AML Act"). Mr. Blanco asserted that the AML Act is the most expansive addition to the United States' AML regime since the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001.
In his address before the Florida International Bankers Association AML Conference, Mr. Blanco noted recent agency guidance (see previous coverage) that called upon financial institutions to file suspicious activity reports ("SARs") about illicit activities involving antiquities and works of art. Mr. Blanco emphasized that the information provided in such SARs will inform the agency's rulemaking efforts to bolster AML requirements for antiquities dealers.
Mr. Blanco also stated that FinCEN intends to issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (or "ANPRM") in connection with the beneficial ownership reporting requirements under the Corporate Transparency Act, which is part of the AML Act. Mr. Blanco stated that the agency will direct efforts toward ensuring that the beneficial ownership information that is collected, stored and protected by the agency can aid in the creation of a "highly useful" IT database system for FinCEN's stakeholders. Currently, FinCEN is in the process of creating use and confidentiality protocols that will govern access to the beneficial ownership database.
FinCEN provided (i) information to financial institutions on illicit activity associated with trade in antiquities and works of art, and (ii) related instructions for filing suspicious activity reports.
On January 1, 2021, Congress overrode a presidential veto to enact the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020. The Act creates a broad range of new obligations for federal agencies, financial institutions and other entities.
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