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Anti-money laundering

Advice across the full AML risk spectrum

As rules have got stricter and enforcement more stringent, anti-money-laundering (AML) has emerged as one of the most significant risks for financial institutions, and a growing risk for non-financial services companies.

AML is becoming a priority for regulators across the world, just as whistleblowers gain greater protection, credibility and confidence. The range of AML risks is broadening to include prudential regulation, criminal enforcement and a potential tsunami of third-party follow-on litigation. Where AML difficulties were once mostly confined to a single jurisdiction, authorities’ extra-territorial reach means problems can now snowball across multiple borders.

Freshfields has deep experience across the full spectrum of AML risks, including third-party litigation and criminal defence. We provide our clients with a coherent worldwide defence and communication strategy, fast.

Our comprehensive understanding of AML risks comes from hands-on work such as putting in place and monitoring know your customer (KYC), customer due diligence (CDD) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) processes. We understand how the solutions and policies suggested by the UK Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), for example, are implemented by governments. And we negotiate with national and international regulators across the world.

With a single integrated global AML team, nobody is better placed to navigate the risks and achieve the best outcomes.

Case study

Freshfields attorneys from 10 offices, including in the US, UK, Hong Kong, and Singapore, worked as a team to assess how MoneyGram and its more than 347,000 agent locations in 200 jurisdictions comply with AML and antifraud standards. MoneyGram handles more than 130m transactions worth over $30bn per year.

Much of our work in this area is highly confidential, and our experience includes advising global financial institutions on cross-border AML investigations and enforcement.

We also conduct frequent on-the-ground reviews of AML compliance practices in the US, South Africa, Nigeria, the UK, the UAE, and in more than 30 other countries.

As a result of these and other matters, we have extensive experience assessing:

  • what transaction monitoring rules must be in place to meet legal obligations across multiple jurisdictions, including how those rules are developed and tuned over time;
  • when ‘suspicious activity reports’ (SARs) must be filed in each jurisdiction and what controls must be put in place around that process;
  • what information must be obtained from customers conducting transactions and what due diligence should be conducted to verify that information; and
  • the implications of transaction flows for other legal requirements, including applicable laws regarding sanctions, wire fraud and other financial criminal laws.