Major Anti-Money Laundering Reform Passes US House of Representatives

A major overhaul of U.S. anti-money laundering laws is another step forward, after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would require intermediaries like trust companies and attorneys to take a closer look at the source of money and assets entering the country’s financial system. .

The bipartisan law establishing new authorities for business laundering and enabling security risks (ENABLERS) was included in the annual defense bill, which passed the House on Thursday.

Bill amends 52-year-old Bank Secrecy Act, requiring for the first time trust companies, lawyers, art dealers and others to investigate clients and report suspicious activity to the department US Treasury.

Banks are already required to vet their customers and sources of wealth, but other U.S. financial guardians have been left out of so-called due diligence rules — a loophole long criticized by financial crime experts and international watchdogs.

Scott Greytak, advocacy director for Transparency International US, said the House’s passage of the bill was timely and called on the US Senate to follow suit.

“Suppressing America’s catalysts for global corruption is a top national security priority,” he said in a statement. The Enablers Act “is the single most important anti-corruption measure the United States Congress can pass now to prevent corrupt Russian officials and would-be kleptocrats from hiding and growing their dirty money in the United States.”

Lawmakers first proposed the Enablers Act in October, inspired by the Pandora Papers investigation, a broad collaboration between the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Washington Post and other media organizations. The survey showed how the global elite hide their wealth in tax havens that increasingly include the United States.

The House Armed Services Committee voted last month to include the Enablers Act in the National Defense Authorization Act, a sweeping national defense policy bill that is traditionally passed by Congress. each year and generally follows a relatively faster route to becoming law.

In 2020, shortly after the ICIJ and BuzzFeed News FinCEN Files investigation, lawmakers used a similar legislative tactic in Congress to pass the Corporate Transparency Act, which requires companies to report their owners to the federal government. This law increased transparency requirements for business owners, but did little to reign in the many service providers in the United States, including attorneys and registered agents, who are often the entry point into America for vast foreign fortunes, and which are now the subject of the Enablers Act.

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