MBM Client: Morgan Stanley Whistleblower Mark Coffey

The Wall Street Journal reports that a growing number of federal agencies—including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and other Treasury Department offices—are now investigating Morgan Stanley’s anti-money laundering practices and compliance program.  The paper reports regulators have questions about how clients were vetted.  This includes a billionaire with ties to Russia who has been sanctioned by the United Kingdom and an individual who claimed she was based in the U.S. but whose financial disclosures indicated she was located on a Caribbean island and had more money in her account that would be typical for someone with her stated occupation.

This latest Journal story follows and links to its prior reporting about an MBM client, Mark Coffey, and his contributions after making a formal whistleblower complaint, to the Department of Justice and Securities Exchange Commission into Morgan Stanley’s client vetting processes.

The federal money laundering investigation is clearly sprawling, and CNBC reported that Morgan Stanley’s stock dropped in response to media reports on its situation.

Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal also reported that amidst numerous agencies’ investigations into Coffey’s revelations about the bank’s handling of funds tied to an alleged Venezuelan money laundering scheme, Morgan Stanley’s Wealth Management Division announced it was laying off hundreds of employees.

MBM attorneys’ representation of Coffey has received media coverage since their client first blew the whistle back in 2019.  In 2021, the Miami Herald published an investigative story into Coffey’s revelations which also exposed the role of online trading giant Interactive Brokers and this year disclosed it is being investigated by the United States Treasury in connection with sanctions and money laundering compliance.  In 2023, Semafor detailed US. Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr’s ties to the alleged money laundering conspiracy Coffey exposed and compared the scope to the FIFA bribery scandal and Goldman Sachs concerning Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund.  El Pais, the world’s most widely distributed Spanish language newspaper, has detailed the sweeping scope of the alleged fraud Coffey exposed operating within the U.S. financial system, including suspicious real estate purchases for Miss Venezuela and bribes to the Venezuelan Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Mincey Bell Milnor is a boutique group that confidently advises corporate and individual clients as to their most important and complex legal, public relations, and government challenges.  MBM represents clients globally, from strategizing the best public approach in high-profile crises to discreetly advising on smaller, less exposed, matters.

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