U.S. shutdown curtails Treasury anti-laundering guidance and intelligence sharing

The U.S. Capitol is photographed behind a chain fence in Washington September 30, 2013. As many as a million government employees were making urgent plans on Monday for a possible midnight shutdown, with their unions urging Congress to strike a last-minute deal.

NEW YORK(Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence) - The continuing U.S. government partial shutdown has forced the U.S. Treasury Department to implement a “lapse in appropriations contingency plan,” which curtails the activities of Treasury’s anti-money laundering unit, according to an official document.

Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) will not be working on regulatory guidance or rulemaking as its normal workforce of 285 employees is slashed to 130, according to a document posted on Treasury's website[here].

It also will not be providing public speakers for AML events, nor will it respond to routine requests for financial intelligence submitted by foreign law enforcement agencies.

FinCEN will, however, continue to provide financial intelligence to U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies in support of money laundering and terror finance investigations, the document states. It also will continue to maintain the IT systems that banks and other financial institutions use to file Suspicious Activity Reports and other filings required by the Bank Secrecy Act.

“Forgoing these critical functions may prevent law enforcement and intelligence agencies from receiving timely information related to potential terrorism or ongoing crimes which potentially compromises safety of life and property,” the document states.

Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) will also continue updating its sanctions blacklist during the shutdown, separate Treasury guidance states[here].

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were no signs the 12-day-old partial government shutdown would end soon. The White House and Republicans and Democrats in Congress have been unable to work out a compromise over funding for southwest border security, the issue that has prompted the budgetary impasse.

This article was produced by Thomson Reuters Regulatory and initially posted on Jan. 3. Regulatory Intelligence provides a single source for regulatory news, analysis, rules and developments, with global coverage of more than 400 regulators and exchanges. Follow Regulatory Intelligence compliance news on Twitter: @thomsonreuters