Bankers will be hearing a lot about Peter G. Djinis over the next year.
The 42-year-old Treasury Department official is the administration's point man on money laundering and a key player on the Bank Secrecy Act advisory group -- a gang group of 30 government and private-sector experts working to overhaul the laws aimed at controlling dirty money.
Working cooperatively with banks is a priority, he said.
"We are definitely working more closely," Mr. Djinis said. "We are trying to approach some of these solutions from the ground floor up, and are trying to engage in conversations at the beginning" with the banking industry, he said.
Bankers will are likely to be thrifted with one of the Treasury Department's first reforms.
"By mid-August, we are going to clarify the definition of what constitutes a nonbank," Mr. Djinis said.
That will help the government expand its money-laundering laws to cover nondepository institutions.
"There are a lot more non-banks that are providing financial services in this country than there are banks in this country," he said.
In addition, he said, "We intend to issue, or at least announce the issuance of, a new currency-transaction report [form], and one that will be substantially simplified." That's the report triggered by $10,000 cash transactions. Financial institutions use the form more than 10 million times each year.
In October, Treasury the department will likely announce a new, comprehensive "know your customer" regulation, which details banks' and nonbanks' responsibilities in monitoring and reporting suspicious transactions, Mr. Djinis said.
Financial institutions have been seeking more guidance on the know your customer regulation for years.
Originally from the Bronx, N.Y., Mr. Djinis got his bachelor's degree in political science from Clark University in Worcester, Mass. He migrated to Washington to attend Catholic University's School of Law, where he earned his degree in 1977.
He came to the Treasury Department after working as a trial attorney for the Justice Department's Narcotic and Dangerous Drug section. There, Mr. Djinis prosecuted several large money-laundering and drug-trafticking organizations. Perhaps the most spectacular was Operation Polar Cap, which uncovered an operation that laundered more than $1 billion in cocaine money.
His experience has convinced him that the reporting banks and other financial institutions do is vital in stopping the flow of illicit money.
"Maybe one of the best ways to prevent money laundering is to have the tools to detect it once it is there," Mr. Djinis said.
Peter G. Djinis
Director, office of financial enforcement
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20220