WASHINGTON, July 30 The United States unveiled
on Wednesday a long-delayed rule that would require banks to
identify hidden account owners to curb money laundering and
shell companies that are often used to move money and cover
The rule would require financial institutions to report the
"beneficial," or true, owners of certain accounts using a
standardized format, which could ease the cost of compliance for
It would also force banks to identify anyone who owns at
least a quarter of a company or legal entity to help the
government pursue money launderers trying to hide their
identities behind shell companies.
"The beneficial ownership requirement is intended to provide
us with an important new tool to track down the real people
behind companies that abuse our financial system to secretly
move and launder their illicit gains," David Cohen, Treasury's
undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in
Banks have been anxiously awaiting the proposal's language
for more than two years, fearing that a strict approach could
mean they have to spend huge amounts of time and money
investigating the beneficial owners of thousands of legal
entities with which they do business.
The White House's Office of Management and Budget had until
early July to complete its own review of the rule.
U.S. authorities have stepped up enforcement of anti-money
laundering laws to clamp down on conduct ranging from drug
trafficking to terrorism.
(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Toni Reinhold)