The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury that collects and analyzes information about financial transactions in order to combat domestic and international money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes. Due to the nature of her work FinCEN only provides information. This information is summarized in a Notice of Finding or Finale Rule. Notices and rulings can start criminal investigations and prosecution or the information can be adopted by the banking system in the USA and abroad to exclude specific banks from the banking system.

The mission of FinCEN is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use, combat money laundering and promote national security.” Therefore, FinCEN serves as the U.S. Financial Intelligence Unit. FinCEN’s self-described motto is “follow the money.” The website states: The primary motive of criminals is financial gain, and they leave financial trails as they try to launder the proceeds of crimes or attempt to spend their ill-gotten profits. It is a network bringing people and information together, by coordinating information sharing with law enforcement agencies, regulators and other partners in the financial industry.

Although FinCEN operates in the United States, it’s findings can have a huge impact on financial institutions around the world. A recent example is FBME Bank in Cyprus (EU) that was placed under resolution of the central bank after FinCEN managed to locate 4.500 suspicious wire transfers coming to US corresponding banks. As outlined in the article’ The downfall of FBME Bank‘, there have been some challenges with this bank that is now going towards liquidation.

Although FinCEN and FBME Ltd. are still in court, this will not have an impact on the re-opening of the bank. The (branch) license of the bank is suspended and cannot be activated again. A courtorder can never force central banks to reinstate a bank. Even if al stakeholders want to open this bank, it will never happen. Any judge in court knows this. Therefore the most logical next steps are: (i) liquidation of Cyprus branch and Tanzania main office, (ii) liability discussion to demonstrate responsibility. These are two different affairs that should not be confused, but are often.