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FinCEN Says Suspicious Activity Reports
Must Themselves Be Seen as Confidential

Nov. 24, 2010, 5:00 AM

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued an advisory Nov. 23 reiterating that unauthorized disclosure of a Suspicious Activity Report is punishable by civil and criminal fines and up to five years in prison.

The advisory was issued to regulatory and law enforcement agencies, self-regulatory organizations and financial institutions after FinCEN expressed concern that SAR confidentiality requirements may have been violated, based on recent media reports. The agency also issued a final rule and two guidance documents for depository institutions and the securities and futures industries.

SARs are becoming more widely used as a resource for investigations and examinations into money ...