In the wake of stalled HFSC efforts earlier this month, Senate Banking Chairman Crapo (R-ID) and Ranking Member Brown (D-OH) today renewed efforts from the last Congress (see Client Report LAUNDER127) to require beneficial-ownership information disclosure to FinCEN at company formation. Although the committee did not discuss specific legislation, it plans to hold an additional hearing focusing on industry perspectives and then perhaps to proceed to action. While Sens. Warner (D-VA), Jones (D-AL), and Sinema (D-AZ) also supported beneficial-ownership collection, Sen. Toomey (R-PA) argued that this would burden small businesses and be ineffective to prevent financial crimes because criminals could provide false information. Perhaps signaling hesitancy to disagree publicly with the chairman at this early stage, no other Republicans attended today’s hearing. FinCEN Director Blanco, FBI Financial Crimes Section Chief D’Antuono, and OCC Senior Deputy Comptroller for Bank Supervision Policy and Community Affairs Gardineer supported establishing a centralized database to verify beneficial ownership information. The hearing also featured harsh criticism of Deutsche Bank from Sens. Brown, Warner, Reed (D-RI), Menendez (D-NJ), and Van Hollen (D-MD) for allegedly not filing suspicious activity reports (SARs) on certain transactions by the Trump Organization. Director Blanco said that he could not comment on any specific cases.
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