Partners Willy Ferrer and Andy Fernandez were featured in a Daily Business Review
article covering a webinar discussing how the financial services community in South Florida should respond to recent indictments against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and other Venezuelan government officials. Both attorneys participated in the webinar, and both said they expect to see more cases against Venezuelan officials as well as commented on the need for increased anti-money laundering and other compliance measures.
Mr. Ferrer, the chair of Holland & Knight's Global Compliance and Investigations Team, stressed the importance for banks to demonstrate they have the necessary resources and personnel, in addition to robust protocols, to identify and respond to suspicious transactions, as he expects them to face increased scrutiny from the Justice Department.
"It's not just having a compliance program on paper or having it in the system," he said. "You have to have enough people, enough resources to make sure you are actually making a difference and being able to weed out and identify the money that is suspect that's going through your system."
Mr. Fernandez, the co-leader of Holland & Knight's Financial Services Regulatory Team, cautioned bankers to ensure transactions do not violate U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and described red flags to watch for in transactions.
"When it comes to Venezuela, the river runs deeper. It's not just about sanctions compliance. It's about this underlying activity whether it's narco-trafficking, whether it's corruption, whether it's other red flags that we need to be mindful of," he said.
READ: Attorneys Warn of Potential for More Cases Over Money From Venezuelan Officials