By World News Report Bureau
New anti-corruption resolution moved by the United States House of Representatives – the lower house of the United States Congress will modernize U.S. anti-money laundering laws and bring unprecedented transparency in the U.S. financial system.
Once approved by the U.S. Senate (upper house) the Corporate Transparency Act would be a big step forward. Being the largest economy in the world the United States plays an important role in the global fight against transactions using “dirty money” to facilitate crimes such as drug trafficking and terrorism.
Money laundering is a criminal offence in the US since 1986 which was one of the first countries to make it a punishable offence.
The U.S. was among the first countries in the world to draft anti-money laundering laws since the 1970s. These include:
- Bank Secrecy Act (1970)
- Money Laundering Control Act (1986)
- Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988
- Annunzio-Wylie Anti-Money Laundering Act (1992)
- Money Laundering Suppression Act (1994)
- Money Laundering and Financial Crimes Strategy Act (1998)
- Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA PATRIOT Act)
- Intelligence Reform & Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004
Money laundering is the process to pump-in, rotate or channelize illegal funds “dirty money” through the legitimate financial system and transfer it through numerous accounts to make it appear clean.
As things stand there are a number of anonymous companies which serve as channels for criminals, kleptocrats, terrorists and other corrupt actors to move money through the U.S. financial system.
Under the bill, companies would be required to disclose information about their true, “beneficial” owners to a secure federal database that is accessible by law enforcement and relevant financial institutions. The bill would also update anti-money laundering oversight and create a new whistleblower fund for those who report money laundering and related activities.
According to Gary Kalman, Director of the U.S. Office of Transparency International, “A Venezuelan strongman and Russian arms dealer used anonymous companies in the U.S. to undermine regional and world security. The Taliban secretly won contracts from the U.S. military and Hezbollah funded its terrorist network, in part, by selling counterfeit goods through secretly owned companies. This is the stuff of spy novels, only it is far more chilling when the stories aren’t fiction.
“This measure represents an incredibly important step that would immediately reduce the potential for dangerous manipulation of our financial system. It will strengthen our national security, curb corruption and fraud, fight tax evasion, combat human trafficking, curtail the financing of drug cartels that fuel the opioid epidemic, and help ensure a fair and level playing field for honest businesses. We thank Representatives Maloney, King, Cleaver, Waltz, Malinowski, and Waters for their leadership on this issue.”
Scott Greytak, Advocacy Director for the TI-US office, added:
“Today’s achievement is proof that anti-corruption reform and economic growth go hand-in-hand. The world’s leading anti-corruption movement, Transparency International, and the world’s largest business organization, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have spoken with one voice in supporting this reform. Now the Senate and the White House have an opportunity to show – not just tell – Americans that our government is not broken and can still deliver results.”