Questions about the leaked reports from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit (FinCEN):
- All parties acknowledge this disclosure places the employees of financial institutions in danger. How badly is this going to deter anyone in the financial industry from complying with the law going forward?
- If employees in these institutions were following the law in reporting these suspicious transactions (known as ‘suspicious activity reports” or “SARs”, why is media so quick to blast them as culpable? 1
- Leaks of confidential US Treasury Internal Revenue Service filings is normally a serious issue, why are we not already hearing about this aspect? If these can be leaked, is it reasonable to presume that any filing can be leaked? Is the nation’s financial data system insecure?
- What was government doing about the reports prior to the leak? Are we to presume nothing was being done? If so, why are we literally risking our lives (presumably in some cases) to file these reports?2
- Shouldn’t we be paying more attention to the reporters covering this issue, especially if their actions are putting lives at risk? Why media like Buzzfeed and not more traditional financial news organizations?
It may be important to note that most financial industry and tax professionals (including me) know little about FinCEN procedures beyond our normal reporting role and responsibilities. It seems reasonable to assume that the general public knows almost nothing about this.
This is the reporting by BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-54226107
1Yahoo reports that some of the reports were not filed until years after they were required.
2 Other follow-up media coverage like Coin Telegraph offers the opinion that current money laundering measures are ineffective.