Monday, September 27, 2010

Money transfers could face anti-terrorism scrutiny

Even the smallest transactions
would be disclosed
Ellen Nakashima

The Obama administration wants to require U.S. banks to report all electronic money transfers into and out of the country, a dramatic expansion in efforts to counter terrorist financing and money laundering. 

Officials say the information would help them spot the sort of transfers that helped finance the al-Qaeda hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They say the expanded financial data would allow anti-terrorist agencies to better understand normal money-flow patterns so they can spot abnormal activity.

Financial institutions are now required to report to the Treasury Department transactions in excess of $10,000 and others they deem suspicious. The new rule would require banks to disclose even the smallest transfers.

Treasury officials plan to post the proposed regulation on their Web site Monday and in the Federal Register this week. The public could comment before a final rule is published and the plan takes effect, which officials say will probably not be until 2012.

The proposal is a long-delayed response to the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which specified reforms to better organize the intelligence community and to avoid a repeat of the 20S01 attacks. The law required that the Treasury secretary issue regulations requiring financial institutions to report cross-border transfers if deemed necessary to combat terrorist financing.


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