Account Monitoring Order
In the United Kingdom and several other countries, an order from a government authority requiring a financial institution to provide transaction information on a suspect account for a specified time period.
Affidavit
A written statement given under oath before an officer of the court, notary public, or other authorized person. It is commonly used as the factual basis for an application for a search, arrest or seizure warrant.
Alternative Remittance System (ARS)
Underground banking or informal value transfer systems. Often associated with ethnic groups from the Middle East, Africa or Asia, and commonly involves the transfer of values among countries outside of the formal banking system. The remittance entity can be an ordinary shop selling goods that has an arrangement with a correspondent business in anothercountry. There is usually no physical movement of currency and a lack of formality with regard to verification and record- keeping. The money transfer takes place by coded information that is passed through chits, couriers, letters or faxes, followed by telephone confirmations. Almost any document that carries an identifiable number can be used by the receiver to pick up the values in the other country. The systems are referred to by different names depending upon the country: Hawala (an Arabic word meaning “change” or “transform”), Hundi (a Hindi word meaning “collect”), Chiti banking (referring to the way the system operates), Chop Shop banking (China), and Poey Kuan (Thailand).
Anti-Money Laundering International Database (AMLID)
A compendium of analyses of anti-money laundering laws and regulations, including two general classes of money laundering control measures—domestic laws and international cooperation—as well as information on national contacts and authorities. A secure, multilingual database, AMLID is an important reference tool for law enforcement officers involved in cross-jurisdictional work.
Anti-Money Laundering Program
The system designed to assist institutions in their fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. In many jurisdictions, government regulations require financial institutions, including banks, securities dealers and money services businesses, to establish such programs. At a minimum, the anti-money laundering program should include:
  • Written internal policies, procedures and controls;
  • A designated AML compliance officer;
  • On-going employee training; and
  • Independent review to test the program.
Arrest Warrant
A court order directing a law enforcement officer to seize  and detain a particular person and require them to provide an answer to a complaint or otherwise appear in court.
Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG)
A Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body consisting of jurisdictions in the Asia/Pacific Region. See www.apgml.org.
Asset Manager
A person appointed through a written contract by a company or trust to direct the entity’s investment program. The program can be a fully discretionary account, or the contract can impose limitations on it. Fees to the asset manager can be based on performance achieved, trading commissions or a percentage of the valuation of the estate under his or her management. High fees and a close relationship with the owners or beneficiaries can expose the asset manager to potential conflicts between a duty to report unusual or suspicious activity and the fiduciary duty to the client.
Asset Protection
A process that includes reorganizing how assets are held so as to make them less vulnerable should a claim be made against a person. Asset protection is also a term used by tax planners for measures taken to protect assets from taxation in other jurisdictions.
Asset Protection Trusts (APTs)
A special form of irrevocable trust usually created (i.e., settled) offshore for the principal purposes of preserving and protecting part of one’s wealth from creditors. Title to the asset is transferred to a person named the trustee. APTs are generally used for asset protection and are usually tax neutral. Their ultimate function is to provide for the beneficiaries.  Some proponents advertise APTs as allowing foreign trustees to ignore U.S. court orders and to simply transfer the trust to another jurisdiction in response to legal action threatening the trust’s assets (so-called “flying trusts”).
Automated Clearing House (ACH)
An electronic banking network that processes large volumes of both credit and debit transactions that originate in batches. ACH credit transfers include direct deposit payroll payments and payments to contractors and vendors. ACH debit transfers include consumer payments on insurance premiums, mortgage loans and other kinds of expenses. The system is used for bulk orders made days in advance—for example, a large corporation’s entire payroll. Both governments and commercial sectors can use the ACH system. The ACH system was designed to transfer a high volume of low-dollar domestic transactions, which pose lower money laundering risks. Nevertheless, the ability to send high-dollar and international transactions through the ACH may expose financial institutions to higher money laundering risks. Firms without a robust AML monitoring system may be exposed to additional risk, particularly when accounts are opened over the Internet without face-to-face contact.