The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is seeking comments regarding the renewal of its program for information sharing between government agencies and financial institutions.
Under the program, U.S. and certain foreign law enforcement agencies can ask FinCEN to request of U.S. financial institutions information concerning any person or entity an agency certifies is engaged in or suspected, based on credible evidence, of engaging in terrorist activity or money laundering. Foreign agencies can participate in the program only if they are in a jurisdiction that allows the United States reciprocal access to comparable information. FinCEN sends approved requests to relevant U.S. financial institutions, which then must “expeditiously” search their records to determine whether they have maintained an account or conducted any transaction with the individual or entity identified in the inquiry and report back to FinCEN regarding any such transaction or account.
Approximately 20,134 financial institutions are covered by the program. FinCEN estimates that that there are 90 requests per year, each usually concerning multiple subjects. Of the 90 requests, 10 are from FinCEN on its own behalf, 50 are from U.S. state and local law enforcement, and 30 are from European Union countries approved by treaty.