Anti-Money Laundering

On First Anniversary of Panama Papers Release, What Have We Learned?

By Gary Kalman

This week marks the anniversary of the Panama Papers, a leak of more than 11 million documents exposing widespread corruption and illicit financing involving 140 public officials in more than 50 countries around the globe.  The leak, large as it was, included documents from just one law firm and had reverberations worldwide.  The impact was profound, but was it enough?  And what did we learn?

For those not steeped in money laundering practices and illicit financial flows, the Panama Papers showed the world how it all works.  If you want to finance terror; steal from taxpayers; traffic in humans, weapons, or drugs; or evade taxes, anonymous shell companies are the vehicle of choice.  The Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca showed that these entities were easy to set up, inexpensive to maintain, and able to provide legal secrecy even if covering up underlying illegal activity.

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Banks Join the Call to End Anonymous Companies

By Mark Hays

This week, The Clearing House Association, a major trade association for U.S. commercial banks, endorsed legislation requiring the collection of information about the real owners of U.S. companies (S. 2489/H.R. 4450). The Clearing House Association is the oldest banking association in the U.S., and it advocates on behalf of the largest U.S. commercial banks, such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo and SunTrust, just to name a few.

Their letter states, “We believe the bill would assist public sector efforts to identify money laundering and terrorist financing through the disclosure of the beneficial owners of corporations. In addition, the legislation would bring the United States further in line with international AML/CFT expectations, such as the recommendations developed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). We can see no justification for allowing corporations to shield their ownership.”

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New York Times Letter: Real Estate Transparency

By Clark Gascoigne

In a New York Times letter, FACT’s Clark Gascoigne writes that Treasury’s plan falls short of what’s needed to combat the financial system’s role as a money-laundering haven.

To the Editor:

Re “Property Sales Get U.S. Scrutiny” (front page, Jan. 14):

The Treasury Department’s plan to scrutinize the secret companies buying real estate in New York and Miami is a welcome first step toward cleaning up parts of the real estate market, but it falls far short of what’s truly needed to combat the United States financial system’s role as a major money-laundering haven.

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FACT Welcomes Bill to Curb Money Laundering and Terror Financing

Holding Individuals Accountable and Deterring Money Laundering Act” Will Help Return Rule of Law to U.S. Financial System; Bring America in Line with International Standards

WASHINGTON, DC – The FACT (Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency) Coalition welcomed the introduction of legislation to improve anti-money laundering and counter-terror finance safeguards while heightening the accountability of financial institutions.  Sponsored by Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), the Holding Individuals Accountable and Deterring Money Laundering Act [H.R. 4242] targets the individuals (or enablers) at financial institutions responsible for accepting suspect funds, while aligning the United States with a number of international anti-money laundering (AML) standards.

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FACT’s Clark Gascoigne on HuffPost Live: U.S. a Major Money Laundering Capital

FACT’s Clark Gascoigne Discusses the U.S. Ranking as the 3rd Biggest Secrecy Jurisdiction in the Latest Financial Secrecy Index

Clark Gascoigne, the Deputy Director of the FACT Coalition, appeared on Mind Your Business with Alyona Minkovski, a weekly business program on HuffPost Live, on Friday, November 13, 2015.  He discussed how the United States facilitates all sorts of financial crime with widespread financial opacity.

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