WASHINGTON-The Treasury Department announced the implementation of two final rules and two proposals regarding the U.S. PATRIOT Act. The rules address suspicious activity reporting, anti-money laundering program requirements, prohibitions on maintaining accounts for foreign shell banks, and information sharing between the government and the financial community. The Treasury Department issued final rules implementing sections 313 and 319 (b) of the act, aimed at preventing money laundering and terrorist financing through correspondent accounts maintained by U.S. banks and securities brokers on behalf of foreign banks. Under the final rule, U.S. banks and securities brokers may continue to use a certification form to comply with both the shell bank prohibition and record keeping requirements of the related provisions. The form, issued to all foreign banks with correspondent accounts, requires foreign banks to certify that they are not shell banks and that they will not permit shell banks access to the U.S. correspondent account, as well as identify the owners of the bank and a U.S. agent for service of process. While use of this form is not required for compliance, it is a safe harbor from liability for failing to comply with the regulation. Written comments on the proposed rules are due within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register.

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