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Banker's Toolbox, Inc., leaders in compliance solutions for financial institutions, announced the acquisition of Georgia-based MainStreet Technologies (MST). MST is an industry leader in the loan risk management space. This acquisition adds to a strong and growing portfolio of compliance-related solutions and will continue to enhance the value Banker's Toolbox brings to both their customers and the industry. (Read full press release here.)

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U.S. Faster Payments Council formed

A group of payments industry leaders has announced the formation of a newly incorporated organization, the U.S. Faster Payments Council (FPC), to work toward the goal of a ubiquitous, world-class payment system that allows Americans to safely and securely pay anyone, anywhere, at any time and with near-immediate funds availability. The FPC will be focused on private-sector approaches to solving problems and addressing issues that inhibit adoption of faster payments. Through dialogue, collaboration and education, the FPC will channel its resources toward the most pressing challenges and opportunities.


Treasury targets key terrorism networks

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action Tuesday to target four Hizballah-affiliated individuals who lead and coordinate the group’s operational, intelligence, and financial activities in Iraq.

See our OFAC Update for identifying information on these four designees and other additions to OFAC's SDN List.


OFAC extends general licenses

OFAC has announced the extension of the expiration date of certain general licenses related to EN+ Group plc (EN+), United Company RUSAL PLC (RUSAL), and GAZ Group (GAZ). A Treasury spokesperson stated "EN+, RUSAL, and GAZ are proposing substantial corporate governance changes that could potentially result in significant changes in control of these sanctioned entities. As the review of these complex proposals is ongoing, OFAC is extending the expiration date of related licenses until January 7."


FATF Bulletin and Australia report issued

FATF has posted the November edition of its Business Bulletin, which provides a brief update on outcomes from the October 2018 FATF plenary meeting that are relevant for the private sector. A follow-up report on Australia’s process in addressing deficiencies listed in its 2015 mutual evaluation was also released.


MoneyGram pays $125M for violations of FTC order

MoneyGram International, Inc. has agreed to pay $125 million to settle allegations that the company failed to take steps required under a 2009 Federal Trade Commission order to crack down on fraudulent money transfers that cost U.S. consumers millions of dollars. Under that order, the company was required to promptly investigate, restrict, suspend, and terminate high-fraud agents. The $125 million payment is part of a global settlement that resolves allegations that MoneyGram also violated a separate 2012 deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice.

In addition to the monetary payment, MoneyGram has agreed to an expanded and modified order that will supersede the 2009 order and apply to money transfers worldwide. The modified order requires, among other things, that the company block the money transfers of known fraudsters and provide refunds to fraud victims in circumstances where its agents fail to comply with applicable policies and procedures. In addition, the modified order includes enhanced due diligence, investigative, and disciplinary requirements.


Super Typhoon Yutu relief guidance

The FDIC has issued FIL-69-2018 to announce steps intended to provide regulatory relief to financial institutions and facilitate recovery in areas of the Northern Mariana Islands affected by Super Typhoon Yutu.


Treasury targets supporters of Russian occupation of Crimea and control of Eastern Ukraine

The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control announced Thursday it had imposed additional sanctions in response to Russia’s continuing malign activity and destabilizing behavior by designating three individuals and nine entities under Ukraine-related authorities. These designations include two individuals and one entity engaged in serious human rights abuses under the Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014 (SSIDES), as amended by Section 228 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). OFAC also imposed sanctions on eight entities and one individual that were responsible for advancing Russian interests by operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13685 as codified pursuant to CAATSA, and which authorizes sanctions on, among others, any person determined to operate in the Crimea region of Ukraine. One of these eight entities is also being designated pursuant to Executive Order 13661 for being owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, Bank Rossiya and Yuri Valentinovich Kovalchuk, persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the E.O. 13661.

As a result of Thursday’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. For identifying information on the individuals and entities targeting in OFAC's action, as well as several administrative updates to OFAC's SDN List, see our OFAC Update.


OFAC releases report of terrorist assets

The 2017 Terrorist Assets Report has been reported to Congress by OFAC. It is the Twenty-sixth Annual Report to the Congress on Assets in the United States Relating to Terrorist Countries and International Terrorism Program Designees.


FFIEC statement on OFAC cyber sanctions

The members of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) have issued a joint statement alerting financial institutions to recent actions taken by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) under their Cyber-Related Sanctions Program and to the potential impact it may have on financial institutions’ risk-management programs. The statement describes the issues a financial institution should consider regarding the effect of sanctions on the operations of the financial institution and the implications of the continued use of products or services provided by a sanctioned entity, some of which claim they are U.S. based and offer services to U.S. financial institutions.


Iran sanctions fully reimposed

Today, in its largest ever single-day action targeting the Iranian regime, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned more than 700 individuals, entities, aircraft, and vessels. This action is a critical part of the re-imposition of the remaining U.S. nuclear-related sanctions that were lifted or waived in connection with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Today’s action includes the designation of 50 Iranian banks and their foreign and domestic subsidiaries; the identification of more than 400 targets, including over 200 persons and vessels in Iran’s shipping and energy sectors, and an Iranian airline and more than 65 of its aircraft; and the placement on the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (“SDN List”) of nearly 250 persons and associated blocked property that appeared until today on the List of Persons Identified as Blocked Solely Pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13599 (“E.O. 13599 List”). For a list of these additions and the removals from the E.O. 13599 list, see OFAC's SDN List update.

OFAC issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) relating to the end of the 180-day wind-down period and the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions lifted or waived in connection with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). OFAC also amended existing FAQs 256 and 417, and archived other outdated FAQs.

Finally, OFAC has published a technical notice related to today's action for users of OFAC's sanctions list data files.


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