The bank inspection of New York accused Western Union Financial Services, the world largest company conducting money transfers, of numerous violations of the federal laws and the laws of the state that concern counteraction to financing of terrorism. According to Wall Street Journal (its article is published by InoPressa), these are alleged violations of the so-called USA Patriotic Act. As provided by the Act, companies operating money transfers and other financial organizations must have effective programs for money laundering prevention.
It is the first instance that the Act was applied to such a big financial company. What is more, the newspaper supposes that this is just the beginning of a large-scale scandal; it reports information from a well informed source saying that the federal authorities or authorities of other states are highly likely to take similar measures against Western Union.
The claims of the New York authorities to Western Union are as follows. According to representatives of the bank department, starting with January 2000, Western Union failed to provide almost 600 reports on currency operations. One day, the sum of a cash transfer exceeded 10.000 dollars. Besides, this year the company failed to present 63 reports about suspicious operations. At the same time, the authorities mention that Western Union doesn't duly control activity of the staff.
Western Union admitted the correctness of the bank department’s actions and agreed to pay a 8 million dollar fine. At that, the organization neither admitted, nor rejected its connection with the illegal activity. Belonging of some of the suspicious money transfers to financing of the terrorism activity is being currently identified. Director of the Western Union’s North American department, Mike Yerington said: “Western Union rendered assistance to representatives of the bank department in investigation of the company’s activity. Besides, we immediately took measures to eliminate the defects revealed during the investigation and assured the Department that such mistakes would never be committed again.”
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://economics.pravda.ru/economics/2002/7/21/64/4617_.html