should consider new anti-money-laundering laws in light of allegations that Russian mobsters channeled billions of dollars from criminal enterprises through the Bank of New York.

Sen. Kerry of Massachusetts, the Senate Banking Committee's No. 3 Democrat, urged committee Chairman Phil Gramm to reverse his stance against holding hearings on the matter this fall.

"As we enter a new era of complex international money transfers, the Senate Banking Committee must consider whether existing federal laws that protect our banking system from the abuse of money laundering are adequate,'' Sen. Kerry wrote in a letter to Sen. Gramm released on Friday.

"Failure on the part of Congress to adequately update our international financial laws could imperil the stability of the current international financial system and give comfort to those involved in international crime."

But a spokeswoman for Sen. Gramm said that he "sees no need" for hearings because federal authorities are already conducting investigations. House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach has tentatively scheduled hearings on the subject for Sept. 21 and 22.

-- Dean Anason

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