Thursday, December 4, 2014

Exclusive: Casino trade group releases first industry standards

By Brett Wolf

(Reuters) - Under pressure from the federal government, the trade group for the U.S. casino industry has released the first ever set of best practices aimed at helping the industry police itself for money laundering activity.

"For a number of years, individual properties and companies within the casino industry have made anti-money laundering compliance a priority, but the best practices are really the first time the industry came together as one to tackle this," American Gaming Association Chief Executive Geoff Freeman said in an interview.

The document was made public on Thursday.

Since mid-2013, casinos have been on notice they must step up their compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act, the primary U.S. anti-money laundering law, which has required them to report large cash transactions for decades and since 2002 has obliged them to report customers' suspicious activity.

For those that fail, there is an increasing threat of civil or even criminal penalties from the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Justice Department.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Wynn Resorts: No federal investigation despite published reports

Nov. 21, 2014

Wynn Resorts Ltd. said it doesn’t believe it is under federal investigation despite published reports the casino operator is being targeted for potential money- laundering violations.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Las Vegas attorney Donald Campbell, who represents Wynn as an outside counsel, was sent a letter by the Internal Revenue Service seeking a list of the company’s top 100 customers from North America and the top 50 customers from Asia, Europe and Latin America.

But legal sources said Wynn Resorts would be required to make a public filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission if the company knew it was under investigation.

“We are not aware of any investigation of the company and no agency has notified the company that it is under any investigation,” Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver said in an email Thursday.
According to the Journal, the letter asked for birth dates, Social Security numbers and other information, as well an organizational chart of Wynn Resorts senior management and specifics about internal money-laundering safeguards.

“The fact that information is requested from us by a governmental agency in no way implies the accusation of any wrongdoing by the company,” Weaver said in an email.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

FinCEN Issues Advisory on the FATF-Identified Jurisdictions with AML/CFT Deficiencies

November 12, 2014 - FinCEN Advisory

On October 24, 2014, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) updated its list of jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies. These changes may affect U.S. financial institutions’ obligations and risk-based approaches with respect to relevant jurisdictions.

As part of the FATF’s listing and monitoring process to ensure compliance with the international Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT) standards, the FATF identifies certain jurisdictions as having strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes.1 The FATF has updated its lists of jurisdictions that appear in two documents:2 (I) jurisdictions that are subject to the FATF’s call for countermeasures or are subject to Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) due to their AML/CFT deficiencies (referred to by the FATF as the FATF Public Statement’) and (II) jurisdictions identified by the FATF to have AML/CFT deficiencies (referred to by the FATF as ‘Improving Global AML/CFT Compliance: On-going Process’). Financial institutions should consider these changes when reviewing their obligations and risk-based approaches with respect to the jurisdictions noted below.
I. Jurisdictions that are subject to the FATF’s call for countermeasures or are subject to EDD due to their AML/CFT deficiencies

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Number of Casino Suspicious Activity Reports Growing

The number of suspicious activity reports filed by casinos and card clubs continued to grow rapidly in the first nine months of 2014, the Treasury Department said.

Casinos filed more than 4,100 of the reports in September, up from about 3,000 in the same month a year prior. The uptick came at a time when there’s been talk of anti-money laundering enforcement spreading beyond banks to casinos and other kinds of businesses.

Securities and futures firms, which have also been the subject of regulatory focus, also filed more reports. These institutions filed just over 2,100 reports in September, a figure that has steadily risen from a year prior when almost 1,600 were filed.

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By: Rachel Louise Ensign
Wall Street Journal