Washington, D.C. — The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) submitted comments to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of Treasury, in response to its request for input regarding beneficial ownership information reporting and disclosure requirements.
Earlier this year, the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) was passed. The CTA requires certain companies to disclose their actual, or “beneficial,” owners to FinCEN. FinCEN will then maintain that ownership information in a database and disclose it to government agencies and financial institutions, subject to appropriate protocols. State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, including state attorney general offices, must obtain court authorization to access this beneficial ownership data—a step not required for federal agencies.
In their letter, the attorneys general:
- Emphasize the need to ensure state, local, and tribal enforcers have timely and efficient access to beneficial ownership information.
- Encourage continued engagement about the development of CTA-related regulations with attorneys general, with NAAG serving as a liaison.
- Urge FinCEN to develop regulations that permit the beneficial ownership information to be used as evidence and provided to the defense, particularly when necessary for prosecutors to discharge their discovery and disclosure obligations.
“We welcome ongoing conversation with the Secretary [of the Treasury] and FinCEN about the CTA and the regulations that will be codified to ensure that the database is ‘highly useful’ to our offices and those of other state, local, and tribal enforcers,” concludes the letter signed by 39 of America’s attorneys general.
In 2020, 42 attorneys general supported the Improving Laundering Laws and Increasing Comprehensive Information Tracking of Criminal Activity in Shell Holdings (ILLICIT CASH) Act, which was similar to the CTA. However, unlike the CTA, the ILLICIT Cash Act placed federal and state enforcers on equal footing to obtain beneficial ownership information.
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