8 November 2015
Thanks to the US judicial process, FinCEN has been blocked from implementing a sanction that threatened to destroy FBME even though FBME has always worked to address any issues identified by regulators or auditors. Without the rulings of Judge Cooper, FinCEN could have wiped the Bank out based on supposed evidence that FinCEN insisted on keeping secret, despite having no valid basis to withhold it.
FBME Bank Limited wants nothing more than the chance to confront at least some of the secret evidence to clear its name, and to protect its employees and customers.
It is especially gratifying to see that Judge Cooper, in now granting voluntary remand via a 6 November order, has set a four-month clock for FinCEN to complete a new administrative process, while retaining jurisdiction and leaving his injunction in place. Equally important, Judge Cooper has agreed that FinCEN is obligated “under the Administrative Procedure Act to disclose unclassified information not protected by the Bank Secrecy Act on which it intends to rely”.
FBME simply wishes that FinCEN had recognised this fundamental obligation for itself at an earlier point. And FBME welcomes the opportunity ahead to comment on a variety of unclassified information that FinCEN previously withheld, understanding, as Judge Cooper has noted, that FinCEN will now be revisiting the premises and substance of any rule regarding FBME.