Economic Sanctions & Anti-Money Laundering
Our team advises U.S. and non-U.S. clients across industries on their most sensitive U.S. economic sanctions and Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering (BSA/AML) issues. With our preeminent regulatory defense and white collar experience, we are uniquely positioned to assist clients in responding to regulator inquiries, examinations and subpoenas; conducting internal investigations; and handling matters that develop into multi-agency civil and criminal investigations. Our practice also encompasses regulatory advice, compliance counseling and transactional due diligence.
New York DFS Creates New “Powerhouse” Division Combining the Enforcement Division and Financial Frauds and Consumer Protection Division
May 3, 2019 Download PDF
On April 29, 2019, Linda Lacewell, the Acting Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”), announced the combination of DFS’s previously separate Enforcement Division and Financial Frauds and Consumer Protection Division into a newly created Consumer Protection and Financial Enforcement Division. Superintendent Lacewell said the new Division will be a “powerhouse” and referred to DFS’s mandate to “guard against financial crises and consumers and markets from fraud.”
The new division will be led by Executive Deputy Superintendent Katherine A. Lemire. Prior to her appointment, Lemire was a partner at StoneTurn, a consulting firm specializing in corporate internal investigations, compliance, and monitoring. Previously, Lemire served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York from 2002 to 2009 and as a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for five years before that. Matthew L. Levine continues to serve as Executive Deputy Superintendent for Enforcement.
The reorganization appears to be motivated, at least in part, by DFS’s statement in January that the agency was disappointed by a “troublesome policy shift away from consumer protection” at the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and that DFS would “take action to fill the increasing number of regulatory voids created by the federal government.”
The units within the new division will be: Enforcement; Investigations and Intelligence; Civil Investigations; Producers; Consumer Examinations; Student Protection; and Holocaust Claims Processing. The Consumer Assistance Unit, formerly part of the Financial Frauds and Consumer Protection Division, was not mentioned in DFS’s announcement. DFS’s plans for that unit are not clear. The Consumer Assistance Unit is responsible for receiving and mediating complaints from consumers.
Acting Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell was appointed by Governor Cuomo to head the DFS on January 4, 2019, assuming office on February 11, 2019. She was previously Governor Cuomo’s Chief of Staff and before that an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York. Lacewell is awaiting confirmation by the New York State Senate. Lacewell is expected to take a more assertive enforcement posture at DFS.
We will continue to monitor developments at DFS and look forward to providing you with further updates.
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 DFS Press Release, “Acting DFS Superintendent Lacewell Announces Appointment of Katherine Lemire as Executive Deputy Superintendent of Newly Created Consumer Protection & Enforcement Division,” Apr. 29, 2019, https://www.dfs.ny.gov/reports_and_publications/press_releases/pr1904291.
 DFS, “Statement by DFS Superintendent Maria T. Vullo Regarding CFPB’s Troublesome Policy Shift Away from Consumer Protection,” Jan. 25, 2018, https://www.dfs.ny.gov/about/statements/st1801251.htm.
 Bloomberg, “For New York’s New Bank Cop, Cuomo Revisits an Earlier Playbook,” Feb. 4, 2019.
Events & Publications
Federal Agencies Issue Joint Statement on AML/CFT Obligations, and IRS Updates Guidance, for Digital Assets
- Oct 15, 2019
The CFTC, the SEC and FinCen recently issued a joint statement reminding those engaged in activities involving digital assets of their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist funding obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act
Roberto Gonzalez to Speak on Economic Sanctions at Hispanic National Bar Association Convention in New York
- Sep 26, 2019
Litigation partner Roberto Gonzalez will speak on a panel at the Hispanic National Bar Association’s 2019 convention in New York.
OFAC Reaches Settlement Agreement with U.K. Bank for Complex Payment Structures Used to Circumvent U.S. Sanctions
- Sep 19, 2019
On September 17, 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced a $4,000,000 settlement agreement with the British Arab Commercial Bank plc (“BACB”), a commercial bank located in the…
FinCEN Announces Launch of New Global Investigations Division Focused on Exercising Section 311 and Geographic Targeting Order Authorities
- Aug 30, 2019
On August 28, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) announced the launch of a new Global Investigations Division (“GID”), which will be responsible for implementing “targeted investigation…
- Aug 26, 2019
On August 23, 2019, President Trump tweeted that “American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing. . .your companies [home] and making products in the USA.” In further …
D.C. Circuit Upholds Decision Requiring Three Chinese Banks to Produce Documents Located in China to the U.S. Government
- Aug 12, 2019
On July 30, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed civil contempt orders by the D.C. District Court against three Chinese banks for their failure to produce documents in response to U.S. government…
- Jul 18, 2019
Robust FCPA enforcement activity continued in the first half of 2019. The DOJ and the SEC—resolving four and five corporate enforcement actions, respectively—assessed a combined total of $1.5 billion in corporate penalties, of which…
- Jun 25, 2019
On June 25, Paul, Weiss co-hosted an event with the China General Chamber of Commerce USA (CGCC), “Detecting and Reporting Suspicious Transactions and Preventing Sanctions Violations.”
- May 29, 2019
On May 22, 2019, the New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) announced the creation of a new Cybersecurity Division, which it described as the “first of its kind at a banking or insurance regulator.”
OFAC Issues Guidance on Sanctions Compliance Programs and Flags “Root Causes” Underlying Prior Enforcement Actions
- May 14, 2019
On May 2, 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued guidance entitled “A Framework for OFAC Compliance Commitments” (the “Framework”), that strongly encourages companies to “develop,…
- May 01, 2019
Litigation counsel Justin Lerer participated in a panel discussion on the “Shifting Tides in Anti-Money Laundering Enforcement and Regulation.”
- May 03, 2019
On April 29, 2019, Linda Lacewell, the Acting Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”), announced the combination of DFS’s previously separate Enforcement Division and Financial Frauds and Consumer …
UniCredit Group Banks Agree to Pay a Combined $1.3 Billion Penalty for Iranian and Other Sanctions Violations; One Bank Pleads Guilty
- May 01, 2019
On April 15, 2019, UniCredit Bank AG (“UCB AG”), headquartered in Munich, Germany, UniCredit Bank Austria AG (“Bank Austria”), headquartered in Vienna, Austria, and their corporate parent, UniCredit S.p.A., an Italian global banking…
- Apr 29, 2019
Litigation counsel Karen King will speak on a panel at Consilio’s 3rd Annual Asia-Pacific New York City conference, “Caught in the Crossfire: Navigating Regulatory, Transactional and Litigation Risks in Light of Current U.S.-China…
- Apr 11, 2019
Litigation partner Jessica Carey will deliver the keynote address at Gleiss Lutz’s annual Compliance & Investigations conference.
OFAC Takes Enforcement Action Against U.S. Parent Company for its Recently Acquired Chinese Subsidiary’s Iran Sanctions Violations
- Apr 01, 2019
On March 27, 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced a $1,869,144 settlement agreement with Connecticut-based Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. (“Stanley Black & Decker”), a…
In Unprecedented Move, OFAC Takes Enforcement Action Against U.S. Parent Company for Turkish Subsidiary’s Iran Sanctions Violations and Simultaneously Sanctions the Subsidiary’s Ex-Managing Director
- Feb 11, 2019
On February 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced a $13,381 settlement agreement with Virginia-based Kollmorgen Corporation (“Kollmorgen”), a technology and manufacturing…
- Feb 05, 2019
This memo surveys economic sanctions and AML developments and trends in 2018 and provides an outlook for the year ahead. We also provide some thoughts concerning compliance and risk mitigation in this challenging environment.
OFAC Reaches Settlement with e.l.f. Cosmetics, Inc. for North Korea Sanctions Violations Resulting from Inadequate Supply Chain Due Diligence
- Feb 04, 2019
On January 31, 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced a $996,080 settlement agreement with California-based e.l.f. Cosmetics, Inc. (“ELF”), to settle its potential civil liability for …
- Feb 08, 2019
Litigation partner Chris Frey will participate in the “2019 Anti-Money Laundering Conference: Accelerating Implementation of a Risk Based Approach in Preparation for the Fourth FATF Mutual Evaluation of Japan,” sponsored by GoodWay,…
- Jan 17, 2019
In this memo, we offer reflections on the year’s most significant developments in anti-corruption and FCPA enforcement and policy.
Court Upholds SEC Authority and Finds Broker-Dealer Liable for Thousands of Suspicious Activity Reporting Violations
- Jan 07, 2019
On December 11, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) obtained a victory in its enforcement action against Alpine Securities Corporation, a broker that cleared transactions for microcap securities that were allegedly used …
OFAC Reaches Settlement with Cobham Holdings, Inc. for Violations Resulting from Deficient Screening Software
- Nov 29, 2018
On November 27, 2018, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced a nearly $90,000 settlement agreement with Virginia-based Cobham Holdings, Inc. (“Cobham”), a global provider of technology and…
CFIUS Adopts Pilot Program that Imposes Mandatory Filing Requirement for Foreign Acquisitions and Investments Involving Critical Technology in Certain Industry Sectors
- Oct 26, 2018
On October 10, 2018, the Treasury Department announced that the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) had used its new authority under the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018…
- Oct 10, 2018
Firm chairman Brad Karp was featured in a Q&A in the latest issue of LEADERS magazine.
- Sep 15, 2018
Ten years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, market participants and other global companies operate in a markedly changed regulatory enforcement and compliance landscape. This memorandum discusses the legal and business…
- May 09, 2018
On May 8, President Trump announced the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
- Apr 13, 2018
The first quarter of 2018 saw a flurry of declinations of FCPA prosecutions by the DOJ and the SEC, and only one FCPA corporate enforcement resolution by the DOJ and two resolutions by the SEC.
- Apr 10, 2018
On April 6, 2018, the Trump administration imposed new sanctions on 7 Russian oligarchs, 12 companies they own or control, 17 Russian government officials, and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company and its subsidiary, a…
- Apr 25, 2018
Litigation partner Roberto Gonzalez and counsel Rachel Fiorill will speak on panels at ACI’s 11th Annual Advanced Forum on Economic Sanctions Enforcement and Compliance.
- Mar 27, 2018
In this video, litigation partners Mike Gertzman, Jessica Carey and Roberto Gonzalez and counsel Rachel Fiorill offer guidance for bolstering compliance as they discuss recent developments in sanctions and AML policy and enforcement.
- Mar 13, 2018
Litigation partner Roberto Gonzalez will speak on a panel at the American Investment Council’s (AIC) Chief Compliance Officers Working Group Meeting.
U.S. Bancorp Enters into Deferred Prosecution Agreement and Related Resolutions and Agrees to Pay $613 million for BSA/AML Failures
- Feb 21, 2018
A week after the announcement of a guilty plea and penalty related to Rabobank N.A.’s anti-money laundering violations, the DOJ announced on February 15 that it had entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with U.S. Bancorp,…
Increasing Regulatory Focus on Reforming Financial Institution Culture and Addressing Employee Misconduct Risk
- Feb 21, 2018
Since the financial crisis—and more recently in the wake of the Wells Fargo sales practices scandal and the benchmark manipulation enforcement actions—bank regulators in the United States and around the world have become increasingly…
Rabobank Pleads Guilty to Obstructing OCC Supervision and Agrees to Pay $368 Million for Permitting and Concealing BSA/AML Failures
- Feb 13, 2018
The DOJ and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recently imposed a $368 million penalty on the U.S. subsidiary of Dutch-based Rabobank. The bank also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct regulatory oversight of its Bank …
- Feb 12, 2018
On February 2, 2018, the Federal Reserve Board issued an unprecedented enforcement action against Wells Fargo & Company, prohibiting its asset growth until improvements in board oversight and firmwide risk management systems are…
- Feb 12, 2018
On February 9, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit handed down a decision recognizing important limitations on the scope of the Antiterrorism Act (“ATA”).
- Feb 05, 2018
On January 29, 2018, the Treasury Department submitted to Congress a report pursuant to Section 241 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (“CAATSA”).
- Jan 23, 2018
Economic sanctions and anti-money laundering remain top U.S. regulatory priorities, with federal and state agencies imposing over $2.5 billion in penalties in 2017.
- Jan 19, 2018
Despite significant FCPA enforcement activity in 2017, the Trump administration’s approach to enforcement remains elusive and not readily characterized. While actions against individuals were at the highest level in recent years,…
- Jan 05, 2018
The New York Department of Financial Services recently announced a consent order and imposed an $11 million penalty against a major Korean bank, NongHyup Bank, and its New York branch for repeatedly failing to maintain an adequate…
- Jan 31, 2018
International trade counsel Richard Elliott will speak on a panel at the American Conference Institute’s (ACI) 4th National Forum on The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) & Team Telecom.
- Dec 20, 2017
In light of the recent changes and increasing complexity in Russia/Ukraine-related sanctions, this memorandum provides an overview of the sanctions program as it exists today, focusing on both primary sanctions restrictions and…
Roberto Gonzalez and Karen King to Speak at 2017 Chinese Financial Institutions’ Anti-Money Laundering and Sanctions Compliance Forum in New York
- Dec 12, 2017
On December 12, Roberto Gonzalez and Karen King will be guest speakers at the 2017 Chinese Financial Institutions’ Anti-Money Laundering and Sanctions Compliance Forum, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the China General Chamber of…
- Dec 06, 2017
Recent months have witnessed important developments in the U.S. sanctions landscape, including new legislation, executive actions, and an uptick in enforcement by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
President Trump Announces Intent to “De-Certify” Iran’s Compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
- Oct 13, 2017
President Trump announced that he will not certify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the multi-lateral commitment under which the United States, European Union, and five other countries agreed to lift…
President Trump Signs Executive Order Authorizing Sweeping Secondary Sanctions on Entities Involved in North Korean Trade
- Sep 26, 2017
On September 21, President Trump signed an executive order authorizing the Treasury Department to impose secondary sanctions against individuals and entities, including non-U.S. financial institutions, for conducting or facilitating…
New York DFS Pursues $630 Million Fine Against Bank for Alleged Anti-Money Laundering and Sanctions Compliance Failures
- Aug 30, 2017
The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) recently announced that it seeks to impose a nearly $630 million civil penalty against a non-U.S. bank and its New York branch for alleged persistent anti-money laundering and …
President Trump Signs Sanctions Legislation Targeting Russia, North Korea and Iran, Creating New Compliance Risks for U.S. and Non-U.S. Companies
- Aug 03, 2017
President Trump recently signed into law H.R. 3364, the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.” The law significantly expands U.S. sanctions targeting Russia and restricts President Trump’s ability to lift them…
OFAC Breaks New Ground By Penalizing Non-U.S. Companies for Making U.S. Dollar Payments Involving a Sanctioned Country
- Jul 28, 2017
On July 27, 2017, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a $12 million settlement with two Singapore-based companies over their use of U.S. dollar payments in connection with providing…
- Jul 18, 2017
For the second time in two years, a federal appeals court has rejected a district court’s attempt to scrutinize a deferred prosecution agreement. The July 12 decision in U.S. v. HSBC Bank resolves, at least in the Second Circuit, the…
- Feb 22, 2017
Economic sanctions, anti-money laundering and cybersecurity remain at the forefront of U.S. regulatory priorities. In this memorandum, we survey major developments and trends in these areas in 2016 and early 2017 and provide an…
Client Alert: Treasury and Federal Banking Agencies Clarify BSA/AML and Sanctions Enforcement Standards for Foreign Correspondent Banking Relationships
- Sep 01, 2016
On August 30, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Office of the Comptroller of…
- Jul 01, 2016
Following Maria Vullo's confirmation as Superintendent earlier this month, the New York Department of Financial Services ("DFS") yesterday finalized its closely watched proposed regulation on anti-money laundering (AML) monitoring and …
Client Alert: FinCEN Issues Sweeping New Requirements on Collection of Beneficial Ownership Information and Customer Due Diligence
- May 10, 2016
On May 6, 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network ("FinCEN") released a final rule codifying new and existing customer due diligence ("CDD") requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act ("BSA") for covered …
- Feb 22, 2016
Litigation partners Roberto Gonzalez and Jessica Carey co-authored an article in the February 22 issue of The National Law Journal.
- Feb 02, 2016
The U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued Geographic Targeting Orders ("GTO") imposing temporary reporting requirements on title insurers with respect to "all-cash" purchases of high-end…
Client Alert: Understanding the Changes to the Iran Sanctions Regime: OFAC Issues Guidance, General Licenses on JCPOA Implementation Day
- Jan 20, 2016
On January 16, 2016, international inspectors verified that Iran had complied with the initial nuclear requirements of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the "JCPOA"), and the Secretary of State confirmed that verification.
- Sep 24, 2015
The U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network ("FinCEN") proposed rules on August 25, 2015 that would broaden the application of the Bank Secrecy Act's ("BSA") suspicious activity reporting and anti-money…
Client Alert: Treasury Department’s Analysis of Existing AML and Anti-Terrorist Financing Regimes Recognizes Banks’ Efforts to Reduce the Flow of Illicit Funds Through the U.S. Financial System
- Jul 17, 2015
The Treasury Department recently issued two companion reports, the National Money Laundering Risk Assessment and the National Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment, that address anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations…
Awards & Recognition
- Feb 26, 2019
Firm chairman Brad Karp, corporate partner Mark Bergman and litigation partners Susanna Buergel, Roberto Gonzalez, Jane O’Brien and Elizabeth Sacksteder have been selected to receive the Law360 Distinguished Writing Award at the 2019…
- Oct 10, 2018
Firm chair Brad Karp was named the 2018 New York Law Journal “Attorney of the Year.”
- Dec 21, 2017
Firm chair Brad Karp was named a 2017 “Litigator of the Year” by The American Lawyer.
- Mar 28, 2017
Litigation partners Jessica Carey and Roberto Gonzalez have been selected to receive the “Law360 Distinguished Writing Award” at the 2017 Burton Awards.
- Apr 12, 2016
Paul, Weiss was named Investigations Law Firm of the Year and litigation partner Mark Mendelsohn was recognized as Investigations Lawyer of the Year at the 2016 Who's Who Legal Awards.
- Apr 06, 2016
Litigation partner Jessica Carey and real estate partner Salvatore Gogliormella have been named New York Law Journal Rising Stars for 2016.
- Mar 31, 2016
Real estate partner Salvatore Gogliormella and litigation partner Roberto Gonzalez have been named to Law360's Rising Stars for 2016 in the Real Estate and Banking categories, respectively.
- Feb 04, 2016
Litigation partner Roberto Gonzalez has been named to the Hispanic National Bar Association's (HNBA) 2016 list of the twenty "Top Lawyers Under 40."