20 January 2006

OFAC Compliance: Ensure Your Transactions are Legal...

Archaic and ineffective name searching technology is still in use today across all levels of intelligence agencies and law enforcement. Names remain the single most important means for identifying persona non grata at our borders. Biometrics are only useful the second time you meet someone. Everyone in the world knows how easily security at America’s borders can be circumvented — except Americans.

Language Analysis Systems is the world's recognized leader in providing multi-cultural name recognition software solutions for mission critical applications. We have worked with U.S. Intelligence and Border Protection agencies for nearly two decades, developing a revolutionary and patent-pending approach to name matching and searching, going far beyond simplistic Soundex and key-based approaches. We offer a variety of proven commercial products to government, law enforcement, and commercial organizations that solve a multitude of name related problems.

How else can this technology be used to help our DHS with the war on terror? Are you a U.S. business? If you are, then you must comply with OFAC especially if you are a financial institution, mortgage broker, car dealer, boat dealer, real estate agency or insurance broker.

OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions against targeted foreign countries, terrorism sponsoring organizations and international narcotics traffickers.

Pay attention. Dutch bank giant ABN Amro Bank , has agreed to pay a total of $80 million in US fines for violating regulations to prevent money-laundering, regulators and the bank said last month.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network at the Treasury Department said that ABN's "serious, longstanding and systemic" problems allowed people from Russia and other former Soviet republics to move $3.2 billion to shell companies in the United States from August 2002 to September 2003.

Investigations by state and federal officials also found that the Chicago and New York branches of the bank participated in wire transfers and trade transactions from 1997 to 2004 that violated economic sanctions on Libya and Iran.

ABN AMRO said on Monday that it recognises that serious mistakes were made and accepts the sanctions.

There are now dozens of software solutions and programs available to help with compliance of BSA and AML compliance. The question is, which one is right for your organization? If you do not have a step in your customer or client acquisition process that intersects with compliance then you are at significant risk.

Sales and business development personnel, business development or broker networks must be able to have a high degree of confidence that the business or person they are creating the quotation or proposal for is not an SDN, or Specially Designated National.

Are you an insurance company who uses a network of brokers? What are you doing to implement the policies and programs to comply with this new requirement:

The final rules apply to insurance companies that issue or underwrite certain products that present a high degree of risk for money laundering or the financing of terrorism or other illicit activity. The insurance products subject to these rules include:

• permanent life insurance policies, other than group life insurance policies;

• annuity contracts, other than group annuity contracts;

• any other insurance products with features of cash value or investment features.

At minimum, insurance companies subject to the rule requiring an anti-money laundering program must establish a program that comprises four basic elements:

• A compliance officer who is responsible for ensuring that the program is implemented effectively;

• Written policies, procedures, and internal controls reasonably designed to control the risks of money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crime associated with its business;

• Ongoing training of appropriate persons concerning their responsibilities under the program; and

• Independent testing to monitor and maintain an adequate program.

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