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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

FATF highlights financial crime risks related to Covid-19 pandemic

Federal Issues Financial Crimes FATF Covid-19 Bank Secrecy Act Anti-Money Laundering Combating the Financing of Terrorism Of Interest to Non-US Persons

Federal Issues

On May 4, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) released a report identifying challenges, good practices, and policy responses to new money laundering and financing threats arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. The report notes that the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic is limiting the ability of the government and public sector to implement oversight of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) obligations. Among other things, FATF noted that Covid-19 threats and corresponding vulnerabilities could result in the following: (i) increased misuse of online financial services and virtual assets to move illicit funds; (ii) the bypassing of customer due diligence measures; and (iii) the misuse and misappropriation of domestic and international financial aid. Additionally, FATF noted that the increased use of online platforms for social interaction, consumer shopping, and banking measures may also lead to increased fraud by criminal actors, such as impersonation of officials, counterfeiting essential goods, and fundraising for fake charities. To address these concerns, FATF emphasized that domestic coordination assessing the impact of Covid-19 on AML/CFT risks, the use of a risk-based approach to customer due diligence, and strengthened communication with the private sector may help support the implementation of measures to manage the new risks and vulnerabilities.

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