The US House of Representatives has passed a bill that specifically contemplates trade-based money laundering and will require the treasury department, in consultation with various US agencies, to develop a national strategy to combat financial networks of transnational organised criminals.

Representatives passed the bill on a voice vote, which indicates strong bipartisan support and a very good chance it will move easily through the Senate.

Scope of assessment

The current bill contemplates illicit activity including trade-based money laundering and the exploitation of shell companies. Specifically it calls for:

“An assessment of methods by which transnational organised crime groups launder illicit proceeds, including money laundering using real estate and other tangible goods such as art and antiquities, trade-based money laundering, bulk cash smuggling, exploitation of shell companies, and misuse of digital currencies and other cyber technologies, as well as an assessment of the risk to the financial system of the United States of such methods.”

Further progress

If the bill becomes law the treasury department will have to report to Congress and regularly update its national strategy.

The Senate last year worked on similar legislation on combatting money laundering, terrorist financing and counterfeiting but this has not yet gone beyond the draft stage.

The new Bill HR 4768 can be downloaded from here.