WASHINGTON -- House Banking Committee Chairman Henry B. Gonzalez has introduced a money laundering bill that would reduce currency reports by banks and increase regulations for check cashers and casinos.
The Anti-Money-Laundering Act of 1993 would exempt banks and other financial institutions from filing currency reports on businesses that routinely conduct transactions in excess of $ 10,000.
The industry has filed 50 million reports with the government since they were required in the 1970s, but very few have been useful in prosecuting money launderers. The General Accounting Office estimates that the number of currency reports will nearly double over the next four years.
Chairman Gonzalez's bill also would require the Treasury Secretary to:
* Streamline and strengthen procedures for dealing with suspicious transactions with reports being made to a single federal agency.
* Extend Bank Secrecy Act reporting requirements to checks, drafts, notes, or other instruments which are drawn on foreign financial institutions and are not in bearer form.
* Expand the definition of a financial institution subject to Bank Secrecy Act reporting requirements to include all casinos and gaming establishments with gross gaming revenues over $1 million.
* And delegate his authority for assessing civil penalties for non-compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act to the federal bank regulatory agencies.
Another provision calls for the federal government to provide states with a model for licensing and regulating checkcashing, currency exchange and money transmitting buisnesses. Mr. Gonzalez said these businesses, not banks, have become the favorite instruments of money launderers, the chairman said.
"To help in this effort, I am seeking, through this legislation, to require the registration of money transmitting busineses with the federal government," he said.