As part of the ongoing effort to increase efficiency and effectiveness of its anti-money laundering (AML) policies, on December 3, 2010, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published a Final Rule clarifying prohibitions against the disclosure of suspicious activity reports (SARs) and an Interpretive Guidance (Guidance) clarifying sharing of SARs by certain financial institutions with their affiliates. The Final Rule and Guidance, both to be effective on January 3, 2011, clarify and solidify amendments to the SARs disclosure provisions proposed by FinCEN in a number of publications on March 9, 2009.
The Final Rule amends the regulations that implement the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) to (1) clarify the scope of the statutory prohibition against the disclosure by a financial institution of a SAR; (2) address the statutory prohibition against the disclosure by the government of a SAR; (3) clarify that the exclusive standard applicable to the disclosure of a SAR by the government is to fulfill official duties consistent with the purposes of the BSA; (4) modify the limits on liability/safe harbor provisions; and (5) make minor technical revisions for consistency and harmonization among the different SAR rules.
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