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01/24/2020

OCC acts against former Wells Fargo Bank management

The OCC announced Thursday it has issued a notice of charges against five former senior executives of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and announced settlements with the bank’s former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and other members of the bank’s operating committee. These actions stem from the executive's role in the bank's systemic sale practices misconduct (see "Incentive program costs Wells Fargo $185 M in CMPs," 9/9/2016).

The current or former executives charged and the relief sought by the notice of charges include:

  • Carrie Tolstedt, head of Wells Fargo's Community Bank -- Prohibition order and $25 million civil money penalty (CMP)
  • Claudia Russ Anderson, Community Bank group risk officer -- Prohibition order and $5 million CMP
  • James Strother, general counsel, Cease & Desist (C&D) order and $5 million CMP
  • David Julian, chief auditor -- C&D order and $2 million CMP
  • Paul McLinko, executive audit director -- C&D order and $500,000 CMP

The OCC stated the notice of charges alleges those executives failed to adequately perform their duties and responsibilities, which contributed to the bank’s systemic problems with sales practices misconduct from 2002 until October 2016, and the misconduct of those individuals allowed the practices to continue for years, affecting millions of bank customers and thousands of lower level bank employees. Additionally, the notice states that Ms. Russ Anderson also made false and misleading statements to the OCC and actively obstructed the OCC’s examinations of the bank’s sales practices. Under federal law, each of those individuals may request a hearing challenging the allegations and relief sought.

The OCC's press release also announced it had, issued by consent:

for their roles in the bank’s sales practices misconduct.

01/24/2020

Treasury targets network supporting Iran

The Treasury Department has announced that OFAC took action Thursday against four international petrochemical and petroleum companies that have collectively transferred the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of exports from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), an entity instrumental in Iran’s petroleum and petrochemical industries, which helps to finance Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and its terrorist proxies. Treasury stated that Iran’s petroleum and petrochemical industries are major sources of revenue for the Iranian regime and funds its malign activities throughout the Middle East, and the entities targeted Thursday facilitate Iran’s petrochemical and petroleum exports in contravention of U.S. economic sanctions.

Concurrently with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s designations, the U.S. Department of State designated several companies and senior executives pursuant to E.O. 13846 in connection with significant transactions for the transport of petrochemical products from Iran, on or after November 5, 2018.

All property and interests in property of the persons designated Thursday subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. In addition, foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate significant transactions for, or persons that provide material or certain other support to, the persons designated today risk exposure to sanctions that could sever their access to the U.S. financial system or block their property and interests in property under U.S. jurisdiction.

For identifying information on the individuals and entities designated, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update

01/22/2020

OFAC adds Venezuela designations

The Treasury Department has announced that OFAC has identified fifteen aircraft as blocked property of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) pursuant to Executive Order 13884, which blocks the property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela. Identification of those aircraft is provided in BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

01/21/2020

Amended Venezuela-related general licenses

On Friday, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued amended Venezuela-related General License 5B "Authorizing Certain Transactions Related to the Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. 2020 8.5 Percent Bond on or After April 22, 2020" and General License 8E "Authorizing Transactions Involving Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) Necessary for Maintenance of Operations for Certain Entities in Venezuela."

01/21/2020

OCC enforcement actions announced

The OCC has released new enforcement actions against its supervised institutions and individuals currently or formerly associates with its supervised institutions.

Formal Agreements were made with United Trust Bank, Palos Heights, Illinois, and Texas Citizens Bank, National Association, Pasadena, Texas.

A Decision on Entry of Default and Order of Prohibition was issued to Walter F. Mills, former personal banking representative at Santander Bank, N.A., Wilmington, Delaware. The OCC found that, between March 2012 and February 2014, Mills made or directed at least 17 withdrawals totaling $46,027 on the bank's customers' accounts that were neither requested nor authorized by the customers, and deposited or attempted to deposit the proceeds of the withdrawals in his personal account at another bank.

01/17/2020

Heightened cybersecurity risk considerations

In response to the heightened cybersecurity risk facing the financial services industry and other critical business sectors, the FDIC and the OCC have issued an interagency statement on heightened cybersecurity risk. The statement focuses on risk management principles that can reduce the risk of a cyber-attack and minimize business disruptions. FIL-3-2020 has also been issued by the FDIC.

The Department of Homeland Security has indicated there is heightened risk of cyber-attack against U.S. targets because of increased geopolitical tension. The current environment provides an opportunity for banks to re-evaluate the adequacy of safeguards to protect against various types of cybersecurity risk. The Heightened Cybersecurity Risk document highlights principles previously articulated by the FDIC and other banking regulators including: business resilience, authentication, system configuration, security tool, data protection, and employee training. Banks can apply cybersecurity risk management principles and risk mitigation techniques to reduce the risk of a cyber attack's success and minimize the negative impacts of a disruptive and destructive cyber attack

01/15/2020

OFAC sanctions entities for facilitating exportation of workers from North Korea

OFAC has announced two North Korea-related designations focusing on the Government of North Korea’s continued supply of illicit labor to overseas markets. Tuesday's action targets a North Korean trading corporation and a China-based North Korean lodging facility that facilitate North Korea’s practice of sending laborers abroad. Identification information for Korea Namgang Trading Corporation and Beijing Sukbakso can be found in BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

01/14/2020

Federal Reserve Section 19 prohibition letters

The Federal Reserve Board has posted three Section 19 letters that prohibit the recipients from becoming or continuing as an institution-affiliated party of a financial institution during the fourth quarter of 2019. The letters, which notified individuals who have entered into a pretrial diversion or similar program in connection with the resolution of a criminal complaint that charged them with a crime involving dishonesty or breach of trust, were issued to former institution-affiliated parties of:

01/14/2020

Former FinCEN staffer pleads guilty to conspiring to disclose SARs

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York announced yesterday that Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a//k/a "Natalie Sours," "Natalie May Edwards," or "Natalie Edwards," a former senior adviser at the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), pled guilty yesterday to conspiring to unlawfully disclose SARs.

Beginning in approximately October 2017, and lasting until her arrest in October 2018, Edwards unlawfully disclosed numerous SARs to a reporter, the substance of which were published over the course of approximately 12 articles by a news organization for which the reporter worked. The illegally disclosed SARs pertained to, among other things, Paul Manafort, Richard Gates, the Russian Embassy, Mariia Butina, and Prevezon Alexander. Edwards had access to each of the pertinent SARs and saved them – along with thousands of other files containing sensitive government information – to a flash drive provided to her by FinCEN. In addition to disseminating SARs to the reporter, Edwards sent or described to the reporter internal FinCEN emails or correspondence appearing to relate to SARs or other information protected by the BSA, and FinCEN nonpublic memoranda, including investigative memos and intelligence assessments published by the FinCEN Intelligence Division, which contained confidential personal information, business information, and/or security threat assessments.

Edwards pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to unlawfully disclose SARs, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

01/14/2020

Venezuelan officials targeted in OFAC action

On Monday, Treasury announced that OFAC had designated seven Venezuelan government officials who, on behalf of former Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, led a failed attempt to illegitimately seize control of the National Assembly and block interim President Juan Guaidó and other deputies from participating in a constitutionally required election of National Assembly leadership. The following individuals have been designated as current or former officials of the Government of Venezuela for their actions undermining democracy: Luis Eduardo Parra Rivero; Jose Gregorio Noriega Figueroa; Franklyn Leonardo Duarte; Jose Dionisio Brito Rodriguez; Conrado Antonio Perez Linares; Adolfo Ramon Superlano; and Negal Manuel Morales Llovera.

For identifying information, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

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