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Puerto Rican bank, Bancrédito, was fined $15 million by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for failing to provide Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) between October 2015 and May 2022 and violating rules by the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).
The Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN) fined Puerto Rican bank, Bancrédito, $15 million for failure to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). According to a report by FinCEN, The bank was unable to timely provide suspicious transaction activity reports from October 2015 to May 2022 and failed to maintain due diligence checks in the US. The bank also failed to implement and maintain an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and BSA programme.
According to the consent decree, Bancrédito failed to supervise the account funds flow related to Panamanian bank servicing firms and individuals in Venezuela and Panama; the alleged transfer also involved one of Bancrédito’s executives.
Bancrédito was initially established by Julio Velutini, a citizen of Venezuela, in 2008 and intended to serve foreign banks in the Caribbean and Central America. After being accused of bribing Puerto Rico’s now-former Governor, Velutini turned him into the authorities in August 2020. Former Governor, Wanda Vazquez, undermined an investigation and was also arrested for accepting campaign bribes from Velutini.
FinCEN Director, Andrea Gacki, stated, “Bancrédito processed millions of dollars in suspicious transactions through the United States on behalf of high-risk customers, providing correspondent accounts to foreign financial institutions without the required due diligence and reporting required by the BSA. With today’s action, FinCEN is sending the message that the era of easy money laundering through Puerto Rican [international banking entities] is over.”
The penalty then marked the first enforcement against Puerto Rican IBE under the gap rule, which was affected in March 2021 to make banks comply with the AML regulations whilst providing international banking services.
According to a statement released by FinCEN, Bancrédito must surrender its licence to keep working in the US as an IBE whilst providing and maintaining all records related to BSA. Nonetheless, calling the action taken “unjustified,” the holding company of Bancrédito is planning to file a lawsuit against FinCEN.