UPDATE re Is New York's Proposal a Harbinger of Things to Come? Certification of BSA/AML Compliance and Personal Liability for Mistaken or False Certification

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP


This announcement comes just days after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo nominated Maria Vullo, another lawyer, to replace Benjamin Lawsky, who resigned as the Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services in mid-2015. Mr. Lawsky may have been the most controversial person ever to hold the top banking regulatory position in New York, establishing his office as a very independent enforcement agency, initiating actions against some of the world's largest banks, collecting billions in civil money penalties and fines, creating the bitlicense for virtual currency companies, and introducing the concept of requiring this Sarbanes-Oxley–type AML/OFAC compliance certification from compliance officers. Many will be watching to see if Ms. Vullo, a seasoned litigator and former state deputy attorney general with seemingly strong credentials in prosecuting consumer protection and fraud cases, picks up where her predecessor left off and endorses this proposal.

The New York Department of Financial Services has extended the public comment period for its highly controversial proposal to require AML and OFAC compliance certifications from the chief compliance officers of New York chartered banks and money transmitters and other money services businesses licensed in New York. An incorrect or false certification could subject the compliance officer to criminal liability. The new comment period now ends on March 31.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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