There’s a lot to watch during Thursday’s congressional oversight hearing with FinCEN Acting Director Him Das. Here’s what we are interested in knowing re: U.S. progress to close AML loopholes and deny kleptocrats, criminals, and terrorists access to the U.S. financial system.
This week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) handed Amazon investors a major victory in their drive for greater tax transparency. In response to Amazon’s attempts to exclude a shareholder proposal urging greater disclosures, the SEC ruled that the company must include the proposal in its upcoming annual meeting of investors, to be held in May.
Last week, the UK Parliament passed long-promised reform to provide a window into the opaque British real estate market. This reform – desperately needed following countless exposés about financial abuses in the UK real estate sector, including recent revelations in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – will have critical implications for deterring and investigating economic crime and sanctions evasion. As the U.S. works with other countries to pursue multilateral sanctions against Russia, it must follow the UK and expeditiously advance its own rules to improve transparency in the U.S. real estate sector.
While the White House considers and implements immediate actions to aid Ukraine, it must also pursue structural U.S. anti-money laundering reforms to increase the effectiveness of targeted U.S. sanctions and to end the weaponization of U.S. legal and financial systems against democratic and open societies.
On December 6, U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to solicit public comment for Anti-Money Laundering regulations in real estate transactions.
As a reporter in Uganda, I often saw how access to quality health care and education was limited because of low government revenues and budget allocations. While Uganda and other African countries are certainly recipients of foreign aid from the West, and generate their own tax revenues, it is also clear that illicit financial flows are bleeding out of the African continent, enabled in part by the policies of the West. We now need new partnerships with Africa to “stop the bleeding.”