att name

Michael F. Zeldin

Special Counsel

  • p. 202.349.7928
  • f. 202.349.8080


Michael Zeldin is Special Counsel in BuckleySandler’s Washington, DC, office where he helps lead the firm’s Anti-Money Laundering and Economic and Trades Sanctions (AML/ETS) practice. Prior to joining BuckleySandler, Mr. Zeldin was the global leader of the anti-money laundering/economic and trade sanctions practice at a Big Four accounting firm.

Mr. Zeldin counsels financial institutions and non-financial companies as well as individual Board members and senior executives with respect to their responsibilities under AML and sanctions laws, with a particular focus on the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), Title 18 criminal money laundering laws, and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). He has served as the Independent Consultant appointed by federal and state banking regulators on numerous occasions for a wide array of domestic and global financial institutions.This work also has, in particular occasions, involved federal and state law enforcement agencies including the United States Department of Justice as well as the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Mr. Zeldin is experienced in conducting corporate internal investigations, Know Your Customer (“KYC”) forensic reviews, evaluating, designing and testing compliance programs and policies relating to the BSA and OFAC, Board and Compliance staff training, as well as due diligence/enhanced due diligence in relation to mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, agency relationships, and key person hires. Mr. Zeldin is called upon as an expert witness on behalf of private litigants in AML and related matters.  In 1997, he testified before the United States House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime on the topic of international money laundering. Earlier in his career, Mr. Zeldin served in various leadership positions in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, including Director of the Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Offices; Special Counsel to the Criminal Division for money laundering matters. As Special Counsel, he advised the Assistant Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General on the drafting of money laundering and asset forfeiture legislation as well as the implementation of federal money laundering policy. Mr. Zeldin served as Deputy Majority Counsel for the House Foreign Affairs Committee, October Surprise Task Force in 1992 where he investigated the events surrounding the holding and eventual release of the American hostages in Iran. Mr. Zeldin later served as the court appointed Independent Counsel charged with investigating allegations of impropriety by the administration of President George H.W. Bush with respect to then candidate Bill Clinton’s privacy rights (known as the "Passport Investigation").

Mr. Zeldin has a broad range of international experience having served as the United States Department of Justice delegate to the following international conventions:

  • G-7 Financial Action Task Force, Paris, France
  • Council of Europe, Select Committee of Experts Regarding Search, Seizure and Confiscation of Crime Proceeds, Strasbourg, France
  • UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, Vienna, Austria
  • Organization of American States, Legislative Drafting Committee, Washington, D.C. Caribbean Action Task Force, Oranjestad, Aruba

Mr. Zeldin is a board member of the Association of Certified Financial Crimes Specialists, as well as a member of the American Bar Association and the International Bar Association. 

Mr. Zeldin has lectured throughout the U.S. and internationally on financial crime topics. He is an often quoted subject matter expert and appears frequently as a commentator on network news, cable television, and radio. He has testified in federal courts and before the United States House of Representatives.


AML Trends Signal Changing Times for Regional Banks
Law360, October 7, 2015

FinCEN Publishes Long-Awaited Proposed Customer Due Diligence Requirements
Fintech Law Report, October 29, 2014

Look Before You Invest: Bitcoins, Virtual Currencies, Emerging Payment Products, and Regulatory Compliance
JDSupra Law News, November 19, 2013

AML Rules Optimization to Enhance Transaction Monitoring
Financial Services Technology, US Edition, Q3 2010

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Programs
Second Edition of The Complete Compliance and Ethics Manual of the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, February 2010

Computerized Compliance
Banker Middle East, October 6, 2009

Operation Bid Rig: Lessons to be Learned
American Banker, August 20, 2009

Large Money Laundering Schemes Often Go Undetected, August 12, 2009

Facing the Sanctions Challenge in Financial Services
CPI Financial, August 2, 2009

Firms Fret Over Sanctions Compliance
Compliance Reporter, July 31, 2009

FBI Dismantles a ‘Culture of Corruption
Federal News Radio, July 31, 2009

Corporate Response to Compliance Demands Seems to Be Moving Slowly
Accounting and Compliance Alert, July 21, 2009

Sanctions-Specific Compliance Programs Siphoning More Time, Money From Banks
Fortent Survey, July 20, 2009

Global Regulatory Pressure High, But Firms Are Not Well Prepared
Wall Street & Technology, July 20, 2009

Compliance Now More Than Ever
Business Crimes Bulletin, March 2009

Supreme Court Revisits Money Laundering (Cuellar v. United States)
Business Crimes Bulletin, May 2008

How to Protect Against Smurfing
Banking, Q4 2007

Speaking Engagements & Events

Media Appearances

Mr. Zeldin appears regularly as a legal expert and political commentator on network news, cable television and on radio. His appearances have included:

  • NBC-TV, Nightly News, local news programming
  • CBS-TV, Evening News, local news programming
  • ABC-TV, Nightline
  • CNN, Money Line, Late Edition, Crossfire, Burden of Proof, Inside Politics, Nightly News, Headline News, CNN International News, Morning News, Talk Back Live, Larry King Live
  • FOX-TV, local morning news programming
  • MSNBC-TV, News with Brian Williams, The Charles Grodin Show, Equal Time, Big Show with Keith Olberman, Rivera Live, Hardball with Chris Matthews, news programming
  • FOX Cable, Hannity and Colmes, O’Reilly Factor, The Crier Report, The Edge with Paula Zahn, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, news programming
  • BBC, various news programs
  • Court TV, various programs

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • International Bar Association
  • Association of Certified Financial Specialists, Board Member