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US bipartisan group introduces Enablers Act requiring DNFBPs to report suspicious activity

A groundbreaking bill that would require businesses, attorneys, art dealers, and other groups to report suspicious activity has been given the green light by a bipartisan group of US lawmakers.

The Enablers Act would update the 1970-established Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and mandate that designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs) notify the US Treasury Department of any suspicious activity.

The Bill would result in the following additions to the definition of a financial institution:

- People who offer paid investment advice

- People who offer paid investment advice

- Lawyers, law firms, and notaries engaged in financial or related activities on behalf of a third party

- Trust service providers and some businesses

- Lawyers, law firms, and notaries engaged in financial or related activities on behalf of a third party

- Persons working in public relations, marketing, or communications that give another person anonymity or deniability

- Persons working in the third-party payment service industry

Other financial gatekeepers have previously been exempt from such requirements, despite the fact that banks are currently required to do so. However, transactions involving real estate will not be covered.

Rep. Joe Wilson stated to the Washington Post that "this brings us one step closer" to having middlemen in international transactions be subject to the same anti-money laundering checks as banks.

Nobody should be able to use blood money as a cover to take advantage of democratic institutions, he continued.

The US National Defense Authorization Act, which is customarily passed by Congress each year, will now include the Enablers Act, according to a vote on Wednesday by the House Armed Services Committee.

Republican and Democratic sources agreed that including it would expedite the legislation and greatly increase the likelihood that it would become law.

Representative Tom Malinowski, a co-sponsor of the legislation, declared: "If it passes, this will be the biggest money laundering reform since the Patriot Act… It closes the biggest remaining loopholes in our laws that allow crooks and kleptocrats all over the world to hide their money and property in the United States."

"It’s way too easy to use accounting firms, lawyers and others to launder money in ways that are hard for our sanctions enforcement agencies to see," he continued. "By proposing very simple, straightforward due diligence requirements, we exponentially increase the effects of the sanctions programme"

The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is required by the Enablers Act to create a task force to devise a plan for enforcing AML safeguards and requirements on particular professions.

The beneficial ownership of the entities that buy or sell residential or commercial property in transactions involving domestic title insurance companies must also be gathered, kept up to date, and reported to the Treasury.



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