The New ENABLERS Act May Be a Backdoor Way to Expand the Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Program
In The Hill this week, I argue that the newly proposed ENABLERS Act is a lot more powerful than even its authors seem to realize. The proposed law would effectively expand the Bank Secrecy Act to apply the same reporting requirements currently imposed on banks to all sorts of actors who enable (get it?) money laundering: lawyers, investment advisers, accountants, art dealers, public relations firms, and the like. What the law would also do—which the authors may or may not realize—is dramatically expand last year’s Anti-Money Laundering (or AML) Whistleblower Program. That law allows anyone with knowledge of a BSA violation to come forward and report the information to FinCEN for a potential reward. By expanding the BSA, the ENABLERS Act would effectively expand the whistleblower program as well.
The AML Whistleblower Program was created in the wake of the FinCEN Files—a massive leak of banking data by a whistleblower showing a disturbing lack of compliance with basic due diligence requirements among banks. This year’s ENABLERS Act is similarly inspired by a whistleblower: someone leaked a huge trove of documents, known as the Pandora Papers, showing a worldwide problem of rich people and criminals hiding their money.
The ENABLERS Act is written by congresspeople who fondly refer to themselves as the Kleptocracy Caucus. Any effective fight against kleptocracy is going to need whistleblowers to help guide the way. Whether they realize it or not, the ENABLERS Act is a good start.
You can read the article here.
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