Safe Harbor for Banks From Civil Liability for Suspicious Activity Reporting
Federal law (31 USC 5318(g)(3)) provides protection from civil liability for all reports of suspicious transactions made to appropriate authorities, including supporting documentation, regardless of whether such reports are filed pursuant to the SAR instructions. Specifically, the law provides that a bank and its directors, officers, employees, and agents that make a disclosure to the appropriate authorities of any possible violation of law or regulation, including a disclosure in connection with the preparation of SARs, "shall not be liable to any person under any law or regulation of the United States, any constitution, law, or regulation of any State or political subdivision of any State, or under any contract or other legally enforceable agreement (including any arbitration agreement), for such disclosure or for any failure to provide notice of such disclosure to the person who is the subject of such disclosure or any other person identified in the disclosure." The safe harbor applies to SARs filed within the required reporting thresholds as well as to SARs filed voluntarily on any activity below the threshold.
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