20200927 The FinCEN Files - misleading the public and benefiting from criminal conduct: Page 5 of 8

20200927 The FinCEN Files - misleading the public and benefiting from criminal conduct

Nigel Morris-Cotterill

There is, at present, a state of excitement amongst the media, some financial crime consultants and some politicians in response to what they are being told is public opinion.

The so-called FinCEN Files were heavily telegraphed in a media blitz more akin to the launch of a Hollywood film that has cost a fortune but the result isn't as good as was hoped.

In the USA and the UK, mainstream media outlets have published a series of articles that, they say, arise because of what it has found in documents obtained illegally from the USA's Financial Intelligence Unit, FinCEN.

No one seems to notice that all those who are profiting from the articles are gaining a benefit from criminal conduct.

That's just one reason why I would not have worked on the FinCEN papers, had I been asked (I wasn't and I'm glad).

Those who have come into possession of the information have no statutory duty of confidentiality

I have heard the argument that the documents and the information extracted from them is in the hands of "responsible journalists." I dispute that any journalist who is handling information illegally obtained which puts people at risk because they complied with the law can be considered "responsible."

Also, while a journalist does have a right to protect his source, he does not generally have a right to protect the documents. Of course, the original documents may have been handed to a lawyer who would claim legal advice privilege in the documents but it is difficult to imagine that any court would sustain that claim now that there have been disclosures and publication of documents. There has been redaction of some parts of documents that have been published but that, in my view, does not amount to "non-publication."

It would be supremely ironic if those holding the documents or having had to them were to claim that they have rights to keep them private when the only reason they are holding them is because someone deliberately took action to destroy privacy which is protected by the state.

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