Lawmakers Targeted “Gatekeeper” Professions Following the Pandora Papers Leak
Motivated by revelations contained in the recently-released Pandora Papers, on October 6, 2021, four U.S. Representatives – Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Joe Wilson (R-SC) – introduced House Resolution 5525, named the Establishing New Authorities for Business Laundering and Enabling Risks to Security (“Enablers”) Act. Generally, the Pandora Papers are an 11.9 million document stockpile published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (“ICIJ”) that revealed the offshore accounts of dozens of world leaders and more than one hundred billionaires, celebrities, and business leaders. Analysis of the leaks unveiled how the wealthy allegedly used offshore accounts, hidden trusts, and shell companies to hide trillions of dollars, evade tax collectors, and launder money.
The Enablers Act targets the so-called “middlemen” in the United States who allegedly assist with those bad acts. In a press release, Representative Wilson stated bluntly who he believed to be the “U.S. enablers of kleptocracy”: “unscrupulous lawyers, accountants, and others” that allegedly fail to conduct adequate due diligence in international transactions.
The Act, if passed, would amend the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) to require the Treasury Department to promulgate due diligence requirements for the “middlemen,” which include investment advisors, art dealers, attorneys involved in financial activity, accountants, third-party payment providers, and others.
The Act is nascent proposed legislation that is still subject to refinement as it winds its way through the House Financial Services Committee. Suffice to say, however, there are some initial questions about the bill’s scope and function that give us pause. The details are catalogued below.
Continue Reading The ENABLERS Act Seeks to Impose BSA/AML Requirements on an Array of “Middlemen” Professionals