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CBA Asks Supreme Court to Review Annunzio-Wiley Anti-Money Laundering Act Case

In a case that challenged the immunity provision of 31 U.S.C. 5318(g)(3)(A) that protects a bank from liability for making reports of a crime, a California appellate court held that a bank could be held liable for calling the police when an irate non-customer made threats after the bank refused to cash a check.

After being tried and acquitted for threatening to commit a crime (he was charged with threatening to blow up the bank), he sued the bank for malicious prosecution. While at trial court, the bank successfully asserted a privilege to make the police report under the Annunzio-Wiley Anti-Money Laundering Act, the court of appeal reversed. It made the dubious ruling that the disputed report did not involve a banking transaction, which is both erroneous as to the facts (it involved cashing a check) and the law, as the immunity language of the Act applies to “any possible violation of law or regulation.” 

CBA filed letters to the Supreme Court as amicus supporting the bank’s petition for review or, in the alternative, to de-publish the decision. The letters were drafted for CBA by Will Stern, partner of the law firm of Morrison & Foerster and member of CBA’s Legal Affairs Committee.

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