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Banking regulators consider stricter money-laundering penalties

Thomas Curry

Thomas Curry

Top banking regulators said on Thursday that they are considering pursuing cases against bank employees, executives and directors who violate anti-money laundering regulations.

Though regulators and authorities have settled with major banks to resolve allegations of money laundering, they have faced public criticism because the actions have not resulted in the punishment of any bank executives, Chicago Tribune reports.

Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry told Congress that the OCC was considering regulatory changes to “enhance [its] ability to take removal and prohibition actions against bank officers, directors and employees” who violate the Bank Secrecy Act, which requires financial institutions to assist regulators in the detection and prevention of money laundering activities, according to Chicago Tribune.

David Cohen, the Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, told the Senate Banking Committee that the Treasury was exploring similar options.

“We also intend to make use of additional tools at FinCEN’s disposal to ensure that those who violate the BSA are held accountable,” Cohen said in prepared remarks, Chicago Tribune reports.

FinCEN, an arm of the Treasury that handles money-laundering issues, may obtain injunctions and impose civil penalties on individuals who violate the BSA but has used the authority infrequently in the past.

“In the future FinCEN will look for more opportunities to impose these types of remedies in appropriate cases,” Cohen said, according to Chicago Tribune.