Banking and Finance Law Daily Congressional leaders applaud anti-money laundering section in 2021 defense bill
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Friday, December 4, 2020

Congressional leaders applaud anti-money laundering section in 2021 defense bill

By Stephanie K. Mann, J.D.

The text is based on the bipartisan Improving Laundering Laws and Increasing Comprehensive Information Tracking of Criminal Activity in Shell Holdings (ILLICIT CASH) Act, which was originally introduced in September 2019.

As the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is set to be voted on by both the House and Senate, multiple legislators applauded the inclusion of the Anti-Money Laundering Act and Corporate Transparency Actin the final version. These sections are intended to strengthen national security and help combat illicit financial activity carried out by terrorists, drug and human traffickers, and other criminals.

The text included in the NDAA is based on the Improving Laundering Laws and Increasing Comprehensive Information Tracking of Criminal Activity in Shell Holdings (ILLICIT CASH) Act, originally introduced by Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala), Mark Warner (D-Va), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) in September 2019 (see Banking and Finance Law DailySept. 27, 2019). Jones, Warner, and Rounds commended Congressional leaders for including the text in the NDAA. "For too long, our anti-money laundering laws haven’t kept up with the rapidly evolving methods that criminals and terrorists use for illicit financial activities. Our bipartisan bill is the largest comprehensive effort in decades to improve transparency and will give prosecutors, national security officials, law enforcement, and financial institutions the modern tools they need to crack down on money laundering and terrorist financing," said Jones.

According to the bipartisan group, the bill will update anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism policies by giving Treasury and law enforcement the tools necessary to fight these criminal enterprises. This includes improving overall communication between law enforcement, financial institutions, and regulators, as well as facilitating the adoption of 21st century technologies.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee, applauded the move, saying that the reforms "are long overdue" because money laundering is not a victimless crime. "Updating and strengthening our money laundering and corporate transparency laws and insisting on tighter enforcement will finally provide for a 21st-century system to combat money laundering-related financial crimes, estimated by Treasury to generate about $300 billion per year in illicit proceeds."

Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, released her own statement, praising the inclusion of multiple Democratic financial services measures.

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