SAR FAQs 2021 2 – Should a financial institution file a SAR solely on the basis of receiving a grand jury subpoena or other law enforcement inquiries?

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Q:   Should a financial institution file a SAR solely on the basis of receiving a grand jury subpoena or other law enforcement inquiries?
 
A:   No. The receipt of a law enforcement inquiry, such as a grand jury subpoena, does not by itself indicate that the criteria requiring the filing of a SAR have been met. However, receipt of a grand jury subpoena or other law enforcement inquiry is pertinent information relevant to a financial institution’s overall assessment of risk and the risk profile for the relevant customer(s) and account(s). Generally, a financial institution will assess and review all relevant information it has about a customer that is the subject of a grand jury subpoena or other law enforcement inquiries, in accordance with its risk-based AML program. For example, the receipt of a grand jury subpoena should cause a financial institution to review relevant account activity and transactions.
 
The financial institution should determine whether SAR filing is necessary based on its assessment of all information available and applicable regulatory requirements. If a financial institution files a SAR on a customer or transaction following the receipt of a grand jury subpoena or other law enforcement inquiry, the SAR should focus on the facts and circumstances that support a finding of suspicious activity rather than the subpoena or inquiry itself.
 
 
This Q&A was contained in the Interagency “Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Suspicious Activity Reporting and Other Anti-Money Laundering Considerations” dated January 19, 2021.  This issuance may be found here: 
 

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