Adam Schlatner, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Commercial Litigation Department and chair of its Sports Law practice, discusses financial institutions’ need to ensure best practices for compliance and risk management in the wake of the indictments and allegations surrounding the FIFA scandal. While not public officials in the traditional sense, by virtue of their positions, sports officials and committees—particularly on the international stage—often possess heightened power and therefore present a heightened level of risk from a compliance perspective. While FIFA and others have long been scrutinized in the public eye for possible wrongdoing, recent events and the seriousness with which authorities have treated them, underscore the need for financial institutions to view and treat such officials and bodies as “high-risk” customers. “Banks should have the compliance apparatus in place because of [who] they deal with,” said Adam. As it pertains to highly visible sports-linked transactions, the banks “are all on notice now.” In other words, the time is now to be proactive and ensure adequate safeguards.
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