December 13, 2013 4th Circuit

United States v Under Seal

John and Jane Doe moved to quash grand jury subpoena seeking records on their Swiss bank account. The district court denied their motion and held them in civil contempt. The panel affirmed. It held that the “required records doctrine” applied to foreign account records required by the implementing regulations of the Bank Secrecy Act, 31 USC 5511-5525. It noted this position represents the consensus of federal courts of appeals. Applying the doctrine, the panel held that 1. the requirement to retain records on foreign accounts has an essentially regulatory purpose as the information is shared with bank regulators to help with their regulation of  financial companies and is not aimed at a group, like gambling bookies, thought to be criminal; 2. The records were the type of records a person with a foreign account would retain if for no other reason than to access the accounts; and 3. The records had public record like attributes in that regulators relied upon them in the performace of their duties.

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