Bipartisan Bills Target Criminal Money Laundering, Terror Financing

Transparency Measures Have Broad Support from Financial Institutions, Law Enforcement, and Anti-Corruption Advocates

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bipartisan pieces of legislation introduced on June 28, 2017 aim to crack down on one of the prime enablers of criminal money laundering and terrorist financing — the abuse of anonymous shell companies. The Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) along with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).  The House bill is sponsored by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Pete King (R-NY).  The measures enjoy widespread support from law enforcement groups, financial institutions, and anti-corruption advocates, such as those in the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition (FACT Coalition), a non-partisan alliance of more than 100 state, national, and international organizations promoting policies to combat the harmful impacts of corrupt financial practices.

The Senate bill is called the True Incorporation Transparency for Law Enforcement (TITLE) Act [S.1454]. The House bill is called the Corporate Transparency Act [H.R.3089].  Both are being introduced shortly after journalists behind the groundbreaking Panama Papers investigation received the Pulitzer Prize at an award ceremony at Columbia University.

Gary Kalman, the executive director of the FACT Coalition, issued the following statement:

“Just over a year ago, journalists worldwide began publishing the Panama Papers — exposing global webs of anonymous shell companies used to facilitate all forms of corruption and criminal activity.

“While Panama received all the unwelcome attention, U.S. laws are no better.  In many ways, it is easier to hide behind an anonymous company in this country than Panama or any other in the world.

“Terror financing.  Sanctions evasion. Human trafficking.  Just about any financial crime you can conjure up has an anonymous company behind it.  It is the vehicle of choice for bad guys to hide and launder money.  Police and prosecutors cannot follow the money trail because at some point it disappears behind a wall of secrecy. Cases fall apart, and criminals walk away.

“The bipartisan bills introduced today offer a relatively simple yet effective remedy to the problems caused by anonymous companies.

“The measures enjoy widespread support from financial institutions, law enforcement groups, and anti-corruption advocates.  Political momentum for transparency continues to grow, and we look forward to working with Sens. Grassley, Feinstein, and Whitehouse and Reps.  Maloney and King to close the U.S. financial system to those who would abuse it.”

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Notes to Editors:

Journalist Contact:

Gary Kalman
Executive Director, The FACT Coalition

+1 202 827 6401
gkalman@nullthefactcoalition.org