The unrest in the Middle East has important ramifications for U.S. banks, which have been directed by the federal government to be on special alert for the movement of assets that may be tied to senior foreign political figures.

Turmoil in Libya prompted the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to issue a Feb. 24 advisory reminding financial institutions of their duty, under the USA Patriot Act, to monitor private banking accounts for suspicious activity and to file reports when they find something amiss.

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