Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, February 11, 2013

In Re Grand Jury Proceedings No. 4-10: Required Records Exemption applies

In In Re: Grand Jury Proceedings, No. 4-10, No. 12-13131 (Feb. 7, 2013), the Court rejected the argument by targets of a grand jury investigation that their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination shielded their records of foreign bank accounts from production to the government in compliance with a grand jury subpoena. The Court held that these records were exempt from the Fifth Amendment under the Required Records Exemption.

The Court found that, although the purpose of the Bank Secrecy Act and its implementing regulations, which required persons to keep and file reports regarding their relations with foreign financial agencies, was partly in aid of criminal law enforcement, it was “essentially regulatory.” The Court also found that such records are “customarily kept.” Finally, the Court found that the records had “public aspects” which render them analogous to public documents. Consequently, the Required Records Exemption applied, and the target could not invoke the Fifth Amendment as a ground for non-compliance with the grand jury’s subpoena of its records of its foreign bank accounts.