Western Union slumped 5 percent in trading Friday following a report by the Wall Street Journal that the CIA is building a database of international money transfer data.
The report, citing unnamed officials familiar with the program, says the program collects information from U.S. money-transfer companies including Western Union. It is carried out under the same provision of the Patriot Act that enables the National Security Agency to collect nearly all American phone records.
The mass collection of financial data includes millions of Americans’ financial and personal data.
The CIA is barred from targeting Americans in its intelligence collection. But as a foreign-intelligence agency, it can conduct domestic operations for foreign intelligence purposes. The CIA program is meant to fill what U.S. officials see as an important gap in their ability to track terrorist financing world-wide, officials told the newspaper.
Western Union said last month it would be spending about 4 percent of its revenue in 2014 on compliance with rules under the Patriot Act, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and other anti-money-laundering and terrorist-financing requirements.
Company spokesman Dan Díaz said that Western Union collects consumer information to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act and other laws. In doing so, the company also protect customers’ privacy and works to prevent consumer fraud.
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Shares of The Western Union Co. fell 90 cents to $16.55 by late afternoon amid a broader market uptick.