September 29, 2022

Whitehouse Welcomes Implementation of His Bipartisan Corporate Transparency Bill to Crack Down on Money Laundering & Other Forms of Illicit Finance

Whitehouse championed beneficial ownership measure to track criminals and foreign enemies hiding assets from law enforcement and tax authorities

Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a leader in the fight against international corruption and illicit finance, welcomed a vital new tool for law enforcement to shed light on kleptocrats and criminals’ efforts to hide dirty money in our financial system.  The new rule from the U.S. Department of Treasury is based on Whitehouse’s bipartisan legislation requiring reporting of the true identity, or “beneficial owner,” of those who establish companies that can be used for money laundering and other illicit schemes.  Whitehouse issued the following statement:

“This is an important step forward in our fight against the international kleptocrats, drug traffickers, and other criminals who exploit our financial system to hide their ill-gotten gains.  Now, law enforcement will have a window on the players behind the webs of shell companies that facilitate all manner of corruption and criminality.  For years, I’ve raised the alarm about the threat that anonymous flows of illicit funds presents to our national security, our financial system and the rule of law, and I’ve worked across the aisle to provide our law enforcement and intelligence community this tool to fight back.  I am pleased to see the Treasury Department issue a strong reporting requirement and expect its vigorous enforcement.

“Now, we need to harden our defenses further.  We should address the issue of American professionals – including lawyers, investment advisors, and accountants – providing services to bad actors.  We can do more to take on the exploitation of American real estate and other high-value assets by foreign kleptocrats and criminals.  We can provide greater resources to the Treasury Department, Department of Justice, and other federal agencies with the power to fight financial crime and corruption.  And the Biden administration can and should move quickly to deliver the two remaining rules triggered by the Corporate Transparency Act. 

“The bipartisan success of our beneficial ownership bill established a model for progress on these issues, and I look forward to building on that success.”

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued the new rule pursuant to the Corporate Transparency Act, a version of which Whitehouse and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) originally introduced as the TITLE Act.  The legislation requires FinCEN to obtain information on the true owners of corporations, LLCs, and other similar entities formed within the United States, and to set up a database to help law enforcement and national security officials access that information when necessary.  Its passage marked the culmination of Whitehouse’s years-long, bipartisan effort to combat money laundering, international corruption, and kleptocracy. 

Whitehouse has urged the swift completion of this rule.  Earlier this year, he submitted official comments on the proposal, and has remained in close contact with FinCEN during the implementation process.  As Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, he also led the Caucus in issuing a bipartisan report on ways to strengthen the U.S. anti-money laundering framework, which featured the issue of beneficial ownership disclosure and called for the swift implementation of this rule.

Whitehouse is a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight, and Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. 

Rich Davidson, (202) 228-6291 (press office)

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