Two anti-money laundering (AML) compliance professionals are facing charges in the United States (US) over facilitating high-risk transactions through a credit union without appropriate controls.

According to the US Justice Department, Gyanendra Asre, 53, of Greenwich, Connecticut, and Hanan Ofer, 67, of New York ,represented to financial institutions that, because of their experience and training in AML compliance and procedures, they understood the risks associated with high-risk business and would conduct appropriate oversight as required by the Bank Secrecy Act.

As a result, the New York State Employees Federal Credit Union (NYSEFCU), a small financial institution with a volunteer board and mainly serving the state’s public employees, allowed the pair to conduct high-risk transactions through the credit union, said the DoJ.

Asre and Ofer allegedly transferred more than $1bn (€835 M) in such transactions, including hundreds of millions of dollars originating abroad, through the NYSEFCU and other entities.

“Contrary to their representations, Asre wilfully failed to implement and maintain the requisite anti-money laundering programmes or conduct oversight required to detect, identify and report suspicious transactions,” the DoJ stated.

“This caused, among other things, the NYSEFCU to process more than a billion dollars in high-risk transactions during Asre’s tenure, without ever filing a single Suspicious Activity Report, as required by law.”

Asre and Ofer owned and operated DDH Group, a money-transmitting business and money-services business which conducted some of these high-risk transactions, without it being licensed or registered as required by law. The pair’s alleged criminal activity took place between 2014 and 2016.

The acting assistant attorney general of the DoJ’s criminal division, Nicholas McQuaid, said the indictment “demonstrates the department’s commitment to hold accountable individuals who knowingly expose the US financial system and US financial institutions to the risk of laundering criminal proceeds.”

Asre is facing two counts of failure to maintain an AML programme, five counts of failure to file Suspicious Activity Reports and one count of operation of an unlicensed money-transmitting business. Ofer is charged with operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business.

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