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A different kind of Water Bill HR3317

I read with interest, as I am sure many US Governed Financial Institutions do, the suggested bill introduced to the US house ‘HR3317 – to deter Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing’.

Clearly, the Bill, which was only introduced in October 2013 by Maxine Waters, and is of course not yet law, seeks to further tighten up penalties for offences.

To underline the seriousness in which these failures are held provisions include:


  • Civil penalties caps are increased ten-fold from 25,000 min and 100,000 max to 250,000 and 10,000,000 USD respectively
  • Prison sentences of up to 20 years for those who ‘take steps to facilitate evasion of programmes or controls’
  • A subtle change in language for management accountability – shifting from ‘has knowledge of’ to ‘should have known’ and further, deeming ‘any officers or employees’ in positions that ‘would have enabled them to materially affect compliance’ are also responsible for related offences.
  • Independent litigation authority would be given to FinCen
  • And, in a move said to increase the likelihood of prison sentences, the DoJ will have to report back to Congress on why it pursued financial settlement, as oppose to custodial terms, and define the difference in severity between impositions for Narcotics cases and in AML/TF violations.

Clearly, what is important to note in each aspect is the subtle change in intent, sending a very clear signal to those who are in control of such business processes, across the globe that they mean business..

Whilst I have heard it recently said by some legal practices and indeed practitioners that ‘stripping’ cases and large sanctions fine have ‘slowed’ more recently, there seems to be no ‘drought’ on the horizon re geo-political positioning of new rules and regulation.


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