Foreign Bank Accused of Funding Terrorist Organization

    Terrorism Funding Expert WitnessA large European bank was targeted in civil anti-terrorism litigation in South Carolina. It was alleged that the bank was suspected of financing a paramilitary organization, having organized a monetary transfer into cash of millions and daily transfers of hundreds of euros on payment cards that had been given to the paramilitary forces. Throughout this period, the US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control administered and enforced economic and trade sanctions against the bank and several separatists by placing them on the Specially Designated National and Blocked Persons List. An expert was needed to consult on the case and opine on how similar systems of card payments function with regards to banks.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Are you familiar with how these payment card programs work? Can you speak about how it specifically relates to international banking and how these cards are filled?
    • 2. Are you familiar with the OFAC SDN List designations? Can you speak about their impact?

    Expert Witness Response E-099586

    I was a federal special agent and supervisor for the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID) for over 20 years. In my various roles at the US Treasury, I led investigations of complex financial money laundering schemes and oversaw large international money laundering and tax avoidance cases involving banks. I led a project on identifying individuals on the OFAC list and conducted/supervised federal investigations of individuals and entities who use credit cards and prepaid cards to launder money as well as avoid tax. Specifically, as the special agent in charge of a field office, I led over 300 special agents in an investigation that resulted in the then-largest financial fine assessed against a financial institution for OFAC violations of wire stripping.

    As for this case, I have the expertise and financial institution contacts to advise. The electronic service used by the bank has both virtual and plastic credit card accounts. Prepaid cards, as seen in this case, can be “open,” easily loaded with money and accessible to anyone almost anywhere.

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