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4 N.Y. Banks Fined for Failure to Report Overseas Cash Deals

Associated Press

The Treasury Department today fined four major New York City banks for failing to report thousands of large, international cash transactions in recent years.

The civil penalties, all stemming from activity reported to the government voluntarily by the banks in the wake of a criminal prosecution at the Bank of Boston, ranged from $210,000 to $360,000 and represented about a fourth of the maximum that could have been imposed.

The banks were Chase Manhattan, Manufacturers Hanover Trust, Irving Trust and Chemical Bank of New York.

John M. Walker Jr., assistant Treasury secretary for enforcement and operations, said his investigation concluded that the violations resulted from “individuals not being attentive to following procedures.

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“We do not see evidence of intent to launder money that would warrant a criminal prosecution.”

Door Still Open

At the same time, he said the Treasury’s civil disposition of the cases will not bar criminal investigation by the Justice Department and prosecution if new information is uncovered.

Walker said the four banks were following the law concerning individual tellers filling out reports on cash transactions of $10,000 or more at their windows. The breakdown, he said, was in another section of the Bank Secrecy Act that requires similar reports on international transactions.

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The violations that led to the penalties announced today generally involve large transactions with other international banks, and the blame rests with people at the vice presidential and compliance officer level who did not give a high enough priority to seeing that the proper reporting was done, he said.

1,442 Reporting Lapses

Chase Manhattan Bank was fined $360,000 for 1,442 reporting failures involving more than $852 million. Manufacturers Hanover Trust was fined $320,000 for 1,393 transactions involving nearly $140 million. Irving Trust was fined $295,000 for 1,242 transactions involving nearly $310 million, and Chemical Bank was fined $210,000 for 857 transactions involving nearly $26 million.

Walker said that between 40 and 50 other banks have come forward to Treasury to admit similar filing failures and that the Internal Revenue Service is investigating 140 banks.

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