Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) cheered the Senate’s passage today of nearly $100 million in funding he requested for the fight against Vladimir Putin’s corruption and kleptocracy. Whitehouse’s provisions passed as part of Congress’s supplemental funding measure to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression. The bill now heads to President Biden to be signed into law.
“This funding will boost some of the most effective enforcement tools available to hold Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs accountable for the war in Ukraine,” said Whitehouse. “The funds will help the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network trace and disrupt flows of dirty financing, and facilitate U.S. authority’s seizure of high-value oligarch assets—the mega-yachts, private jets, mansions, and other dirty purchases that Putin and his cronies have stowed around the globe.”
The Ukraine supplemental includes $67 million for the Department of Justice’s KleptoCapture program—an interagency law enforcement task force to enforce sanctions, export restrictions, and economic countermeasures that the United States has imposed on Russia. Whitehouse called for the creation of this program, and has fought to provide sufficient funding for its important mission.
The funding measure also includes nearly $30 million for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which is the bureau within the Treasury Department charged with cracking down on money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes. This funding will help FinCEN trace Russian financial activities, including identifying the beneficial owner – or real person or group – behind shell companies used by Russian oligarchs to conceal their ill-gotten wealth.
“These efforts will drill to the root of Putin’s corrupt power, and help the people of Ukraine continue their valiant defense of their homeland,” Whitehouse continued. “Ukraine can achieve victory with our support, and this is an important element of that support. Thank you to Leader Schumer and Senators Leahy, Shaheen, and Van Hollen for working with me to secure this critical funding. I particularly appreciate Senator Van Hollen’s efforts to ensure that FinCEN was included in this package.”
Last year, Whitehouse succeeded in passing into law the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA)—the most important anti-money laundering reform in two decades—enabling FinCEN to collect beneficial ownership information of U.S. companies for use in tracking money laundering and other financial crime. Senator Whitehouse joined a bipartisan group of colleagues last week in sending a letter to Treasury and FinCEN urging the agencies to speed up the implementation of the CTA.
Senator Whitehouse is a leading voice in Washington in the fight against kleptocracy and corruption. He is the Chair of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control and a member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (or the Helsinki Commission). In addition to the CTA, Whitehouse led the broader Anti-Money Laundering Act, which clamps down on criminals and foreign enemies hiding assets from U.S. law enforcement and tax authorities. Whitehouse is also the Democratic lead for the Congressional delegation to the annual Munich Security Conference, where this year he joined world leaders to discuss countering corruption and kleptocracy.
Rich Davidson (202) 228-6291 (press office)