Treasury Promotes Illicit Finance Combat Strategy

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The U.S. Department of the Treasury issued its strategy for fighting illicit financing Friday (May 13), highlighting measures designed to make the financial system more transparent.

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According to a department press release, the 2022 National Strategy for Combatting Terrorist and Other Illicit Financing is meant to strengthen the country’s anti-money laundering (AML) framework and other threats in the wake of the pandemic, the rise of fraud and corruption and the increased digitalization of the financial world.

“Illicit finance is a major national security threat, and nowhere is that more apparent than in Russia’s war against Ukraine, supported by decades of corruption by Russian elites,” said Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Elizabeth Rosenberg in the release. “We need to close loopholes, work efficiently with international partners, and leverage new technologies to tackle the risks posed by corruption, an increase in domestic violent extremism, and the abuse of virtual assets.”

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See also: Complying With Crypto Sanctions and AML Regulations Is Complex, But Not Impossible

To combat threats such as small-sum funding of domestic extremism networks, the use of front and shell companies in the spread finance, and the exploitation of the digital economy, the 2022 strategy points to four priorities:

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  1. Closing legal/regulatory gaps in the country’s AML and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) framework
  2. Making this framework more efficient for financial institutions (FIs)
  3. Boosting the “operational effectiveness of law enforcement, other U.S. government agencies, and international partnerships in combating illicit finance”
  4. Enabling technological innovation to staying ahead of new avenues for abuse

To reach these goals, the strategy suggests several courses of action, such as applying AML/CFT requirements to previously uncovered FIs, more public awareness campaigns, increased public-private partnerships to promote innovation, and partnerships with foreign partners on illicit finance issues.

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Earlier this year, lawmakers in the European Union proposed an AML regime that would require identification and screening for any cryptocurrency or stablecoin transaction, regardless of its size.

Read more: With AML Proposal, ECB Gives Digital Euro Leg up on Bitcoin Payments

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