Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Department of Justice targets banks, others in new money laundering offensive

(Reuters) - The Department of Justice is shifting its sights to a new offensive in combating money laundering: bringing criminal charges against banks and other financial institutions for weak compliance systems that fail to catch illicit money flows.

Even while the department's money-laundering unit is wrapping up a series of blockbuster cases involving sanctions-busting transactions routed through some of Europe's biggest banks, it has set its sights on the next front.

While the sanctions cases involving Iran and other countries have largely dealt with historical conduct, part of the shift is to pursue ongoing misconduct.

The focus on compliance systems has traditionally been left to financial firms' direct regulators, including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, whose punishments usually amount to a strong slap on the wrist. Read More