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Reporting Potential Terrorist Related Activity on a SAR

General Instructions for Completing the SAR Form

FinCEN has received a number of calls from financial institutions requesting assistance in completing a SAR when the suspicious activity may be terroristrelated. The following guidance is offered: 1) report the information on the SAR accurately and completely; and 2) complete the narrative section by describing the suspicious transaction as completely as possible and include the following information, if applicable ? any correspondent bank name/account information; names/locations of business entities; names of cities, countries and foreign financial institutions linked to the transaction, especially if funds transfer activity is involved; and account numbers and beneficiary names.

Specific Instructions for a Particular Industry

Financial institutions reporting potential terrorist-related activity on Form TD F 90-22.47 are requested to check the "Other" box on Part III, Line 35(s) of the form and note the word "terrorism" in the space following the box. However, in some situations, the suspicious activity may also involve money laundering; therefore, the institution should also check Box 35(a).

Casinos and card clubs reporting potential terrorist-related activity on Form TD F 90-22.49 (SARC) are requested to check the "Other" box on Part III, Line 32(n) and note the word "terrorism" in the space following the box. If the suspicious activity also involves money laundering, Box 32(h) or 32(j) should also be checked.

MSBs reporting potential terrorist-related activity on Form TD F 90-22.56 should check Box 28 (c) (Terrorist financing) on Part II, Line 28. If the suspicious activity also involves money laundering, Box 28(a) should also be checked.

Regardless of which form is used, all filers should ensure that the narrative includes as much detail as possible regarding the potential terrorist-related and money laundering activities.

It is important to remember that a SAR should not be filed based on a person's ethnicity. In addition, a SAR should not be filed solely because a person appears to have the same name as individuals identified by the media as terrorists.

Transactions to or from, or conducted by persons with possible affiliations with jurisdictions associated with terrorist activity should not be the only factor that prompts the filing of a SAR. However, this information may be relevant and should be considered in conjunction with other relevant information in deciding whether a SAR is warranted, as set forth in 31 CFR 103.18 and the regulations prescribed by the bank regulatory agencies, such as a lack of any apparent legal or business purpose to a transaction or series of transactions. Resources that should be consulted about such jurisdictions include: the State Department's list of State sponsors of terrorism20; the Treasury Department's OFAC's lists of foreign terrorists21; and FATF's list of non-cooperative countries and territories.22

22 FATF is an international organization, of which the United States is a member, established to combat money laundering. Among other things, FATF evaluates the adequacy of countries' counter-moneylaundering systems, and designates those that have inadequate systems as noncooperative countries and territories (NCCTs). Currently, FATF lists as NCCTs the following: Cook Islands, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nigeria, Philippines, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Ukraine.

Excerpted from SAR Activity Review Issue 5, page 55

First published on 02/01/2003

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