Op-Ed / / 12.01.22

Bloomberg Law Op-ed: Lawyers Should Be Key Reporters in Anti-Money Laundering Efforts

Note: This op-ed was originally published in Bloomberg Law and was written by Justyna Gudzowska, Director of Illicit Finance Policy at The Sentry, and Jonathan Winer, a former deputy US assistant secretary of state for international law enforcement.


Lawyers Should Be Key Reporters in Anti-Money Laundering Efforts

As attorneys who have spent substantial portions of our careers working to combat money laundering and financial crime, we understand well the threat posed by the unchecked flow of dirty money. These transactions through the US financial system often stem from corruption, drug trafficking, and other serious crimes.

It’s a discomforting, if instructive, truth that when crooks and dictators consider hiding their criminal proceeds in the US, their first stop is often, unfortunately, a lawyer.

A bipartisan bill pending in Congress will add lawyers to the list of those required to report suspicious activity to law enforcement to combat money laundering. If passed, this law will be an important tool in preventing illicit use of banks and other financial platforms

Lawyers Play Gatekeeper Role

International standards have evolved to include legal professionals among those required to help prevent and report cases of money laundering. But loopholes in US anti-money laundering laws continue to exempt many gatekeepers in the financial system. This includes certain lawyers and accountants, as well as company agents and trust providers, who help clients anonymize and hide dirty money…

Read the full op-ed on Bloomberg Law.