US steps up fight against money laundering

Money laundering involves moving illicit funds, which may be linked to terrorism, drug trafficking or organised crime, through a series of financial institutions or accounts to disguise their origin or ownership.

America Software said it has signed a contract to install its ASSIST money-laundering detection system at Helm Bank, a commercial bank headquartered in Miami.

The software enables banks and other financial institutions to track, detect investigate, report and manage suspicious activity, including money laundering.

America Software has also installed its software at Standard Chartered Bank, a London-based emerging markets bank with more than 500 offices in 50 countries.

Swiss bank UBS, joins the Bank of New York, Archipelago, Barclays, and the London Stock Exchange, as the latest bank to use British technology firm Searchspace’s intelligent software to monitor its banking.

UBS, which employs 70,000 people, 42% of whom are in Switzerland and 39% in the US, intends to use the software to identify suspicious movements of funds throughout its branches.

SearchSpace’s artificial intelligence software, called Intelligence Enterprise Framework, enhances existing systems to allow transaction monitoring.

Konrad Feldman, chief executive of Searchspace, said: ‘The clock is ticking as new anti-money laundering requirements set forth by the Patriot Act last autumn rapidly approach.’

The company recently teamed up with IBM to help companies meet the deadlines.

‘We’ve reduced the time to implementation, allowing organisations to quickly develop a commercially reasonable response that will comply with these fast approaching new regulations,’ Feldman said.

Breffni McGuire, an analyst at TowerGroup Global Payments, said anti-money laundering products have traditionally been viewed as part of a compliance checklist needed to meet mandated requirements.

According to McGuire, TowerGroup expects spending by US banking institutions on anti-money laundering and related technology to reach at least £41.8m by the close of 2002, with total financial services industry spending likely double that amount.

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