Money Laundering:

A Framework for Understanding U.S. Efforts Overseas

GGD-96-105: Published: May 24, 1996. Publicly Released: May 24, 1996.

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GAO provided information on U.S. efforts to combat international money laundering, focusing on: (1) U.S. money-laundering controls; (2) how U.S. law enforcement agencies coordinate their anti-money-laundering activities with European officials; and (3) U.S. participation in international money-laundering agreements.

GAO noted that: (1) the United States relies on financial institutions to report suspect transactions to regulatory and law enforcement authorities; (2) some financial institutions rely on a "know your customer" policy to identify suspected money launderers; (3) European countries model their anti-money-laundering activities after 1991 European Union directives and U.S. financial institutions; (4) European countries require their financial institutions to record but not report large currency transactions; (5) European law enforcement officials believe that the United States should establish a single liaison office to coordinate money-laundering cases; (6) the United States participates in bilateral and multilateral agreements to establish global anti-money-laundering policies, enhance cooperation, and facilitate the exchange of information; (7) U.S. multilateral efforts are coordinated through the Financial Action Task Force, which encourages both member and nonmember countries to adopt money-laundering legislation and controls; and (8) the United States has entered into several bilateral agreements to facilitate the flow of information concerning criminal matters.

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