Payable Through Account
Transaction account opened at a depository institution by a foreign financial institution through which the foreign institution’s customers engage, either directly or through subaccounts, in banking activities and transactions in such a manner that the financial institution’s customers have direct control over the funds in the account. These accounts pose risks to the depository institutions that hold them because it can be difficult to conduct due diligence on foreign institution customers who are ultimately using the PTA accounts.
Physical Presence
Existence of an actual brick and mortar location with meaningful management of the institution physically located within a country, where it maintains business records and is subject to supervision. The mere existence of a local agent or low level staff does not constitute physical presence.
The first phase of the money laundering process: The physical disposal of proceeds derived from illegal activity.
Politically Exposed Person (PEP)
According to FATF’s revised 40 Recommendations of 2012, a PEP is an individual who has been entrusted with prominent public functions in a foreign country, such as a head of state, senior politician, senior government official, judicial or military official, senior executive of a state-owned corporation or important political party official, as well as their families and close associates. The term PEP does not extend to middle- ranking individuals in the specified categories. Various country regulations will define the term PEP, which may include domestic as well as foreign persons.
Ponzi Scheme
A money laundering system named after Charles Ponzi, an Italian immigrant who spent 10 years in jail in the U.S. for a scheme that defrauded 40,000 people out of $15,000,000. Ponzi’s name became synonymous with the use of new investors’ money to pay off prior investors. Ponzi schemes involve fake, non-existent investment schemes in which the investors are tricked into investing on the promise of unusually attractive returns. The operator of the scheme can keep the operation going by paying off early investors with the money from new investors until the scheme collapses under its own weight and/or the promoter vanishes with the remaining money.
Predicate Crimes
“Specified unlawful activities” whose proceeds, if involved in the subject transaction, can give rise to prosecution for money laundering. Most anti-money laundering laws contain a wide definition or listing of such underlying crimes. Predicate crimes are sometimes defined as felonies or “all offenses in the criminal code.”
Private Banking
A department in a financial institution that provides high-end services to wealthy individuals. Private banking transactions tend to be marked with confidentiality, complex beneficial ownership arrangements, offshore investment vehicles, tax shelters and credit extension services.
Private Investment Company (PIC)
Also known as a Personal Investment Company, a PIC is a type of corporation that is often established in an offshore jurisdiction with tight secrecy laws to protect the privacy of its owners. In some jurisdictions, an international business company or exempt company is referred to as a private investment company.
Pyramid scheme
See Ponzi scheme.