News & Events

Zelenskyy Address to Congress Highlights US Shortcomings in Fight Against Illicit Finance

Statement by Ian Gary, Executive Director of the FACT Coalition

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Congress today urging U.S. action to protect Ukrainians from attacks by the Russian military. The speech highlighted that sanctions alone will likely not be effective in deterring Russian attacks, particularly if loopholes in the U.S. financial system undercut efforts to enforce these sanctions against Putin’s allies.

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

“The tools that Congress and the White House commit to Ukraine’s fight for independence and democracy must not be undermined by failings in our own institutions. Sanctioning Russian oligarchs is an important part of the West’s response to the unprovoked and brutal invasion of Ukraine. But in order to seize and freeze Russian mansions and yachts in America, you have to be able to find them. Congress has a key role to play to provide the resources and authorization to stop dirty money from Russia and other kleptocracies from entering the U.S. In 2021, Congress passed the Corporate Transparency Act to end the abuse of anonymous U.S. shell entities, where Russian oligarchs might hide their assets. Yet, agencies tasked with fighting financial crimes and implementing critical transparency reforms, such as Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, are significantly under-resourced. Now Congress needs to step up and provide the resources needed to ensure Ukraine is not alone in the global fight against corruption.