05 February 2018

ABA protests against anti-money laundering legislation

Fears that new legislation could jeopardise legal privilege has seen the ABA take action.

The American Bar Association (ABA) is opposing an anti-money laundering bill which would require lawyers to report suspicious activities by their clients. The group's president Hilario Bass has written to the Senate Judiciary Committee asking it to oppose the proposed legislation. The main argument is that it would undermine lawyer-client privilege by requiring law firms to gather extensive beneficial ownership information on companies when they incorporate. The president said the bill would impose burdensome and intrusive regulations on millions of small businesses, their lawyers and other agents and that the costly reporting requirements in the bill were unnessary as the federal government, financial institutions and the legal profession had developed much more effective steps to combat money-laundering. The bill, The True Incorporation Transparency Act, is intended to end anonymous corporate ownership.