The US department of Treasury has announced it’s updated strategy to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism which outlines the top financial threats. One of the main updates stating the use of new technologies by criminals to launder money, sell illegal substances and commit cyber crime - all hidden by using encrypted messaging tools and using alternative digital currencies that are difficult to track. The report noted the abundant instances of these crimes despite the authorities’ attempts to catch criminals in the act.
The Wall Street Journal reported that an administration official stated: “These are all vulnerabilities that reflect certain gaps in law…that need to be addressed. We are, over the coming year, going to work on a bipartisan basis with Congress and with the private sector to undertake mitigation measures across the full spectrum of the topics that are covered in our strategy.”
The Strategy for 2020 focuses on three priorities:
1) Increasing the transparency of organisations’ financial processes and closing gaps in the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism legal framework. At present, companies are not required to state beneficial ownership when the company is formed therefore, many companies hide certain assets and activities by misemploying legal bodies.
2) Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the U.S. Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism regulatory and supervisory framework for financial institutions. Although the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network passed the law that beneficial parties need to identify and verify themselves as owners of legal entity customers upon opening accounts and verifying themselves periodically thereafter, the US treasury department does not hold the right to request this information - a gap that needs to be addressed.
3) Enhancing the current Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism functionality. There currently very few anti-money-laundering conditions imposed upon some financial institutions and gatekeeper professions resulting in companies that are not subject to federal governance and therefore not ensuring the application of anti-money-laundering standards despite its implementation in 2016. The lack of governance has led to many criminals taking full advantage.
The report noted the following trends from 2019/2020 that are on the rise: