Hogan Lovells has inked a pact with the Republic of Ecuador’s financial unit, Unidad de Anallis Financiero y Economico, to provide legal advice and counsel, as well as strategy development and advocacy work among U.S. government officials.
According to Foreign Agents Registration Acts documents filed in June, the international law firm will represent the UAF in establishing meetings between that authority and U.S. government officials, including discussions with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which investigates domestic and international money laundering and other financial crimes.
Ecuador’s UAF develops programs to detect and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing in the country. The South American nation, which is bordered by Colombia to the north and Peru to the south, has historically been a major transit point in the drug trade, and thus, heavily susceptible to money laundering activity across its trade and commercial sectors.
Ecuador has made recent strides to crack down on dirty money, passing a law last year that issues new compliance requirements regarding the transportation of cash and valuables through the mail. Also under that law, the UAF, which previously resided under the purview of the Attorney General’s office, has now been established as an autonomous body within Ecuador’s Coordinating Ministry of Economic Policy.
The Financial Action Task Force, the intergovernmental body that studies and develops policies to combat international money laundering, in 2015 removed Ecuador from its “Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories” list, essentially a blacklist of countries the FATF deems uncooperative in its efforts to prevent money laundering.
Formal terms of Hogan Lovells’ pact with the UAF have not been finalized, but the engagement is currently estimated to run for one year. The UAF is expected to pay the firm hourly rates that range between approximately $400 and $500 per hour.