Over the next year, a small, relatively obscure bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department will take a lead role in plugging what many experts consider the biggest hole in the U.S.’s anti-money-laundering protections.
It won’t be easy for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, say experts and almost a dozen former Treasury officials and veterans of the bureau. Sweeping anti-money-laundering legislation, approved this year, requires the agency to build a state-of-the-art corporate ownership registry meant to help authorities unmask the beneficial owners of anonymous shell companies and track the flow of illicit money.
FinCEN—whose roughly 300 employees account for less than
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