Two Charged in Suspect $1 Billion Transfer Using N.Y. Credit Union

Two people were charged with using a New York state employees credit union to process more than $1 billion in suspect financial transactions while failing to file suspicious-activity reports or maintain adequate anti-money-laundering controls.

Gyanendra Asre, 53, and Hanan Ofer, 67, persuaded the New York State Employees Federal Credit Union to let them process the transactions, saying they had expertise in anti-money-laundering measures, according to federal prosecutors. Both were 25% equity owners of the credit union at the time and had a history of working in compliance at U.S. financial institutions, according to the indictment. The credit union wasn’t charged.

The defendants “devised a scheme to bring lucrative and high-risk, international financial business lines to small, unsophisticated financial institutions,” according to the indictment. They “then caused the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars from high-risk foreign jurisdictions” through the credit union without putting proper anti-money-laundering protections in place, the U.S. alleges.

The indictment, which cites Mexico as a key jurisdiction for the transactions, stops short of accusing the two of knowingly laundering money. But it alleges the transactions they processed -- which included accepting hundreds of millions of dollars in bulk U.S. dollar deposits from a Mexican bank and then wiring the funds to that bank’s U.S. accounts -- had red flags that should have prompted them to report the transactions to U.S. authorities and demand more information about them.

A lawyer for Ofer, of New York City, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A lawyer for Asre, of Greenwich, Connecticut, declined to comment.

The case is a joint prosecution of the U.S. Justice Department’s anti-money-laundering unit in Washington and prosecutors with the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn, New York.

The case is U.S. v. Asre, 21-cr-00174, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

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