4 January 2021
On January 1, 2021, Congress passed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, which includes the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (the "Act"), the most sweeping anti-money laundering ("AML") legislation since the enactment of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001. The Act represents the culmination of years of legislative and policy work to reform, modernize and strengthen the US AML and countering the financing of terrorism ("CFT") regime.
The Act follows and incorporates provisions from a number of recent legislative initiatives, including The Corporate Transparency Act of 2019 (H.R. 2513), The COUNTER Act of 2019 (H.R. 2514), and The Illicit Cash Act (S. 2563). The Act also largely carries out the 2020 National Strategy for Combating Terrorist and Other Illicit Financing prepared by the Department of the Treasury in consultation with the Departments of Justice, State, and Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the staffs of the federal functional regulators. It also advances recent regulatory initiatives to re-examine the AML regulatory framework intended to upgrade and modernize the US AML regime to address emerging and evolving threats while providing financial institutions with additional flexibility in addressing these threats.