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Waters Statement on Administration Action to Combat Financial Crime

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Washington, DC, May 6, 2016 | comments

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, issued the following statement on the Obama Administration’s new rules and proposals to fight money laundering:

“I welcome the Administration’s announcement today of a major package of initiatives designed to help fight financial crime, protect the integrity of the U.S. financial system, and give law enforcement more effective tools to trace the activities of terrorist groups and help stop the flow of money to them, which is so critical to their efforts.

While many have rightfully been shaken by the widespread use of anonymous offshore shell companies to conceal money laundering, tax evasion, and other illicit activity revealed as part of the ‘Panama Papers,’ the fact remains that current law allows criminals to establish these same legal structures and exploit the anonymity they provide, right here in the United States.

A key concern consistently expressed by experts who have testified before our Committee’s Terrorism Task Force this past year is the fact that U.S. law does not require the gathering and sharing of beneficial ownership information during the company formation process. That is why Congress must pass legislation to close this glaring loophole. I also look forward to working with Committee Democrats, Republicans, and the Administration to advance reforms that strengthen our anti-money laundering framework and enhance financial institutions’ due diligence.”

In December 2015, Ranking Member Waters re-introduced comprehensive legislation, H.R. 4242, the “Holding Individuals Accountable Act,” to heighten accountability on financial institutions to improve anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism safeguards. Waters has also joined with Rep. Carolyn Maloney on legislation, H.R.4450, the “Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act of 2016,” to require the disclosure of beneficial ownership information as part of the company formation process.

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