The Week Of: August 3, 2020

This week’s news and stories of interest to the AML community. If you prefer a news roundup plus other AML/KYC content sent to you, subscribe to This Week Today – our weekly newsletter.

U.S. gives $35 million to aid human trafficking victims

The Trump administration and the U.S. Justice Department this week announced the distribution of more than $35 million in grants to organizations who assist victims of human trafficking.

The grants will be dispersed among 73 groups in 33 states to provide anywhere from six to 24 months of housing assistance to survivors. Money will go towards rent, utilities, and related expenses, and can also be used to “help victims find permanent housing, get a job and receive occupational training and counseling.”

Ivanka Trump said the coronavirus pandemic has made safe and supportive housing for survivors more important than ever. She said many survivors had to live with their traffickers during stay-at-home orders around the country.

Read more from the Associated Press.

Read our RDC Insights piece on the challenges that survivors of human trafficking face, and a more detailed look at this $150 billion-a-year-and-growing problem.

FinCEN Issues New FAQs on CDD Rule

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) this week issued new FAQs regarding customer due diligence requirements for financial institutions.

The FAQs seek to clarify the regulatory requirements related to obtaining customer information, establishing a customer risk profile, and performing ongoing monitoring of the customer relationship, according to FinCEN.

  • Customer information: FinCEN does not categorically require a covered FI to collect any particular due diligence information. Rather, an FI may choose to collect less or more information based on an individual customer’s risk profile.
  • Customer risk profile: FinCEN does not require FIs to use a specific method of categorization to establish a risk profile, nor should products or customer types listed in government publications be automatically categorized as high-risk.
  • Ongoing monitoring: FinCEN does not categorically require FIs to update customer information on a continuous schedule.

Read the FAQs from FinCEN here. (pdf)

EU issues first cyberattack-related sanctions

The European Union imposed sanctions in response to cyberattacks that took place from 2016-18, the first time the bloc has done so.

Asset freezes and travel bans were issued for individuals and organizations tied to the 2017 NotPetya and WannaCry malware attacks and the Cloud Hopper espionage campaign, which was uncovered in 2016. The sanctions also cover an attempted attack by Russian hackers into international organizations at The Hague, which Dutch officials discovered in 2018.

The move by the EU was seen as “bringing the bloc more in line with the U.S. approach of publicly naming and seeking punishment for nation-state hackers.”

Over the last few years, the U.S. has stepped up efforts to sanction, publicly indict and seek extradition for hackers based in foreign countries. More countries need to take similar actions to prevent foreign governments from allowing large-scale hacks, said Chris Painter, coordinator for cyber issues at the State Department during the Obama administration.

Read more from The Wall Street Journal.