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Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Bill to counter terrorist financing efforts introduced in House

Stephen Lynch

A bill that would expand the ability of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to collect information under geographic targeting orders (GTOs) to prevent money laundering for terrorist groups was recently introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA).

The bill, titled the Countering Terrorist Financing Act of 2017, would also authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to include all funds when issuing certain GTOs, including funds involving electronic fund transfers. GTOs will act to impose stricter requirements for reporting on one or more domestic financial institution or nonfinancial business to ensure compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act.

“By widening the scope of information FinCEN can collect under geographic targeting orders, we are increasing transparency in financial transactions,” Lynch said. “FinCEN will more readily be able to identify assets being hidden in high-risk transactions, particularly illicit funds in the real estate market being transferred by bad actors, whether it is a terrorist organization or a drug cartel.”

Lynch introduced a similar version of the bill during the 114th Congress, which passed the House, but did not receive consideration by the Senate.

“As terrorist organizations become more sophisticated at money laundering, it is critical that our government agencies are able to use a variety of tools to effectively respond to these national security threats and disrupt terrorist financiers,” Lynch said.