The FIBA/CSBS Anti
Money Laundering & USA Patriot Act Compliance Conference,
set up to help the world's financial industry fight money
laundering, will be held in Miami, Florida, February 9-11,
Organizers of the conference say it aims
to educate financial institutions on compliance in today's
regulatory environment, including complying with the provisions
of the USA Patriot Act, and to help these institutions maintain
"a competitive edge by utilizing modern technology
and best practices."
The event will feature professionals in
the legal, regulatory, and financial industries who will
update conference attendees on new legislation and recommend
practical compliance solutions. The conference is designed
for money transmitters in the United States and abroad,
financial regulators, compliance officers, private banking
managers, trade finance managers, broker dealers, attorneys,
Organizers for the conference include the
Federation of Latin American Banks, which represents more
than 700 banking and financial institutions from 19 countries
throughout Central and South America, and the non-profit
Florida International Bankers Association, which represents
more than 70 U.S. and foreign banks from 18 countries. That
association's executive director, Pat Roth, says that under
the USA Patriot Act, "everyone in the financial industry
is now subject to new laws and regulations, not just banks."
Broker dealers, money transmitters, check cashiers, and
other financial entities in the United States and Latin
America "need to understand their responsibilities
and obligations" under the Patriot Act, said Roth.
The USA Patriot Act, signed into law by
President Bush in 2001, is designed to expand intelligence
and law enforcement capability to identify and disrupt terrorist
A number of participants from the U.S. government
are scheduled to speak at the Miami event, including William
Fox, director of the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial
Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN); Lester Joseph, acting
chief of the U.S. Department of Justice's Asset Forfeiture
and Money Laundering Section; and Herbert Biern, senior
associate director of the Federal Reserve Board's Division
of Supervision and Regulation. Other speakers include John
O'Hara, senior investigative counsel for the U.S. Senate
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; and Carter
McDowell, chief counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives'
Committee on Financial Services.
The Treasury Department's FinCEN says money
laundering involves criminals who disguise financial assets
by converting them into seemingly legitimate income. FinCEN
says money laundering can have "devastating social
consequences." For instance, money laundering provides
funds for drug dealers, terrorists, arms dealers, and other
criminals to operate and expand their criminal enterprises.
Left unchecked, money laundering can erode the integrity
of national financial institutions, says FinCEN.
Organizers of the Miami conference say that
for more than two decades, the financial industry has played
an important role in the fight against money laundering.
Originally asked to help in the war against illicit drugs
and money laundering related to the illegal drug trade,
the financial industry is now "doing its part to help
prevent the use of the financial system to fund terrorism
or other illicit activities," the organizers say.
Conference organizers add that both banking
regulators and the financial industry have taken their additional
responsibilities under the USA Patriot Act "very seriously,"
with banks making significant investments in sophisticated
software and hiring additional staff, while the regulatory
bodies have issued severe penalties in the form of "cease
and desist orders" and monetary fines for banks and
other financial entities that have not met the strict compliance
guidelines under the USA Patriot Act.
More information about the Miami conference
is available online at: http://www.antimoneylaundering-fiba.com/index.asp
Washington File Staff Writer