DOJ enhances and makes permanent FCPA self-disclosure program  

On November 29, 2016, during an official speech, the Department of Justice ("DOJ") announced that the Foreign Corrupt Practices Ac ("FCPA") Pilot Program it launched in 2016 to encourage companies to self-report potential violations of the FCPA would be made permanent, subject to some amendments. The Pilot Program offers incentives to companies, including leniency, that self-report FCPA violations and cooperate with DOJ investigations.

Details of the newly announced corporate enforcement policy can be found here.

FinCEN fines Californian card club for AML violations  

On November 17, 2017, The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network ("FinCEN") announced a US$8 million civil money penalty against Artichoke Joe’s Casino ("AJC"), a California corporation. According to FinCEN, AJC, one of the largest card clubs in California, wilfully violated US anti-money laundering ("AML") laws from October 2009 to November 2017. During this 8-year period, AJC failed to implement and maintain an effective AML program, and failed to detect, deter, and timely report many suspicious transactions.

 

DOJ recovers millions in criminal proceeds via asset sharing by Guernsey officials  

On December 7, 2017, the DOJ announced that it is recovering more than $14 million linked to two US criminal cases, in which the money was laundered via Guernsey, thanks to a first-time ever sharing of forfeited assets by Guernsey officials. 

Most of the funds being transferred from Guernsey stem from Guernsey’s cooperation in connection with the prosecution of defendant Raymond Bitar and his associates by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In April 2013, Bitar pleaded guilty to unlawful internet gambling and conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. He admitted to defrauding customers of his Full Tilt Poker operation by lying to them about the security of their funds held by Full Tilt Poker, and by falsely promising players that their funds would be protected in segregated accounts. In connection with his plea and sentencing, Bitar agreed to forfeit $40 million dollars in money and other property derived from his offenses, including the funds he maintained in Guernsey. The remaining funds to be shared by Guernsey stemmed from the prosecution of defendant Paul Hindelang and his associates by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Hindelang was large-scale importer of Colombian marijuana into the United States during the 1970s and 1980s. Similar to the Bitar case, Guernsey’s assistance in connection with the Hindelang case ultimately included the registration and enforcement of a US judgment of forfeiture against assets that were laundered to Guernsey and the liquidation of those assets.

 

Changes to further tighten Russian sectoral sanctions go into effect  

On 28 November 2017, The US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") announced changes relate to the amended Ukraine-/Russia-related Directives 1 and 2 that were issued on September 29, 2017 in accordance with Title II of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 ("CAATSA").  Certain CAATSA-related prohibitions in amended Directives 1 and 2 had a delayed effective date of November 28, 2017. The permitted debt tenor was shortened from 30 days to 14 days for entities subject to sanctions under Directive 1, and from 90 days to 60 days for entities subject to sanctions under Directive 2.