WASHINGTON — Calling existing statutes outdated, Attorney General John Ashcroft on Tuesday asked Congress to pass tougher laws to combat money laundering.

“Money laundering constitutes a serious threat to our communities, to the integrity of our financial institutions, and to our national security,” Mr. Ashcroft said in prepared remarks released before a speech in Chicago.

He identified the cross-border movement of cash as the primary method used to launder money today. Congress, he said, should make bulk cash smuggling a crime and allow authorities to confiscate funds taken from violators. He also recommended making it a federal crime to use a public highway, an airplane, or other common carrier to transport $10,000 or more in proceeds of criminal activity.

Finally, he said, Congress should discourage foreign nationals from laundering their money in the United States by making it a crime to launder the proceeds of any “serious crime” here, regardless of where it occurred.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.