The British Embassy has hired a Harvard Law anti-corruption expert for a report on the “Enablers Act.”
The EA shaped up as America’s most significant reform of anti-money laundering laws in 20 years, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
It would require trust companies, lawyers, art dealers, real estate agents and others to investigate clients, as well as the source of money, moved into the US financial system.
The measure, which was introduced in the aftermath of the Pandora Papers investigation passed the House in 2022 but was blocked by the Senate in December.
The British want Caleb Stephenson to provide a “rapid evidence review” in the form of a 20-25 page report describing the perspectives of various professional groups (e.g., lawyers, investment advisors, accountant) on the EA.
The American Bar Association vigorously opposes the EA.
It claims the EA “would impose a major regulatory burden on lawyers and law firms; weaken the confidential lawyer-client relationship and lawyers’ current ability to prevent money laundering and other illicit activities; and undermine the attorney-client privilege.”
Stephenson, who was hired on Jan. 13, says he registered as foreign agent of the British “out of an abundance of caution.”
Though Stephenson will not do any lobbying, his understanding is that the Embassy will use his report as part of its outreach effort to US government officials.
Stephenson reports to Alison Gregory. She is the Embassy’s illicit finance policy lead.
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