April 07, 2016

Warren and Brown Urge Treasury Department to Investigate Involvement of U.S. Entities in Activities Revealed by “Panama Papers”

Senators ask for inquiry into whether U.S. or U.S.-linked companies may have facilitated money laundering or terrorist financing

Text of the letter available here (PDF)

Washington, DC – In a letter sent to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew today, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Banking Committee Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) urged the U.S. Treasury Department to investigate whether any U.S. or U.S.-linked entities were involved with Mossack Fonseca & Co., the Panama-based law firm whose leaked internal records appear to reveal that it has helped thousands of clients create shell companies to hide assets, some allegedly to launder money or evade their tax obligations. The senators also expressed concern about whether companies or individuals involved with or utilizing the services of this firm may have facilitated money laundering or terrorist financing with persons or entities on Treasury’s sanctions blacklist of “Specially Designated Nationals.”    

“(A)s the primary agency charged with protecting the integrity of the U.S. financial system and enforcing our laws against money laundering and terrorist financing, we strongly urge the Treasury Department to conduct its own inquiry into Mossack Fonseca’s activities and its clients,” Warren and Brown wrote.  

Noting reports that U.S. and U.S.-linked institutions and individuals may have been involved in efforts to enable international money laundering and tax evasion, the senators explained, “These disturbing revelations…reveal activity that may threaten our national security and our financial system by undermining U.S. and international laws …(and) raises important questions about the susceptibility of the U.S. financial system to money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit enterprises.”    

Warren and Brown highlighted the critical role of the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) in safeguarding the financial system against illicit use, and underscored the urgent need for the Senate to confirm the President’s nominee to head TFI, Acting Under Secretary Adam Szubin. 

Read the full text of the letter here