Treasury chooses Sanctions architect to lead financial crimes team

Treasury chooses Sanctions architect to lead financial crimes team

Andrea Gacchi, the architect of the Biden administration’s sanctions program, will become director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in September, the Treasury Department said Thursday.

His appointment is expected to bolster the agency that is at the heart of the US government’s efforts to crack down on money laundering and sanctions evasion, especially given the number of new penalties imposed in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The United States has led an ambitious international campaign to punish Russia for the war in Ukraine, imposing sanctions on everything from Russia’s access to software updates to its ability to participate in the global financial system. This has led Russia to make a major effort to evade sanctions by using shell companies, foreign exchange transactions and other complex financial tricks, which the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as FinCEN, is trying to prevent.

Ms. Gacki is currently the director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, a unit of the Treasury Department, where she has overseen sanctions on countries such as Iran, North Korea and most recently Russia. In her new role at FinCEN, she will lead another division within Treasury that is responsible for cracking down on money laundering, cybercrime and sanctions evasion.

Treasury Secretary Janet L Yellen described Ms Gacki as “a unique fighter against the scourge of illicit finance” and said her deep policy knowledge and global connections made her the right choice for the job.

“She expertly deploys Treasury’s financial tools, from financial sanctions to industry guidance and enforcement actions, to hold accountable those who threaten our national security and the international financial system,” Ms Yellen said in a statement. “

Ms. Gaiki will replace Himamouli Das, who is temporarily leading FinCEN. Bradley Smith, his deputy at the Office of Foreign Assets Control, will become its next director.

A career civil servant, Ms. Gacki has served in both the Justice and Treasury departments in the Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden administrations. She joined the Sanctions Office in 2008 and has been its director since 2018.

Sigal Mandelker, who was undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence during the Trump administration, promoted Ms Gacki to director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Ms. Mandelkar said Ms. Gacki understands the federal government’s inter-agency process and works well with the private sector, making it likely that the transition between the two Treasury Department bureaus will be smooth.

Ms Gacki has emerged as a key player in the Biden administration’s national security team. In late 2021, as soon as the US learned of a Russian military build-up near the border with Ukraine, it was sent to European capitals to draw up plans for a coordinated sanctions effort.

At FinCEN, Ms. Gacki will lead a team whose responsibilities grow as companies operating in the United States face greater reporting requirements regarding their ownership structures and emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies increase the risk of money laundering and illegal activities. Financial activities have become more prevalent. FinCEN also works with the multilateral Russian Elite, Proxy and Oligarchs Task Force to track suspicious transactions involving real estate, luxury goods and other valuable assets by wealthy Russians.

“We think that keeping Andrea at FinCEN will mean that she is able to bring the creativity that she has used at OFAC to help us prevent theft as we move to a phase where Our goal will be to try and continue to block Russia from getting the access they need to fight their unfair war in Ukraine,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in an interview.

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