The Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, which became law on Jan. 1, 2021, greatly expands the U.S. government’s authority to subpoena records from foreign banks with no U.S. branches, and this expansion has the potential to dramatically impact future white-collar investigations. This article provides insight into how the recent legislation could affect cross-border, white-collar investigations, how foreign banks can (or should) respond if they receive these subpoenas, and what affirmative measures foreign banks can take to prevent coming under scrutiny themselves.
Corporations need to take a close look at their compliance programs, making sure that these programs are delivering, not just promising, real oversight.
The United States needs to consider carefully whether its treaty advantages and broad jurisdictional statutes should be aggressively used to bring foreign defendants to the United States when the American interest is limited and when other countries may have a greater interest in applying their own statutes, and their own penalty structures.
The CTA constitutes the most significant change to the U.S. anti-money laundering regime since the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, and legal practitioners, industry, and law enforcement should pay careful attention to its rollout, which will primarily be addressed in regulations to be promulgated by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
With the government again focusing on the behavior of the plaintiffs’ bar, its scrutiny could signal the emergence of a new prosecutorial priority with which plaintiffs’ firms, and the legal profession, will have to contend.