The U.S. Senate voted unanimously to approve the Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Improvement Act (AMLA) on December 7, 2022. The bill known as S.3316/H.R. 7195 is part of the $1.7 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, an Omnibus spending package that funds the federal government. The National Whistleblower Center celebrated the bill’s inclusion, describing the bill as “the most important transnational anti-corruption whistleblower law that will be signed into law.”
Why is it so important?
The bi-partisan and bicameral bill will be more effective because it motivates whistleblowers around the globe to report money laundering schemes and attempts to bypass international sanctions. Modeled after the highly effective SEC Whistleblower Program, it introduces much more robust detection and enforcement of sanctions. The details include the following:
- It offers guaranteed award amounts of 10 to 30% to whistleblowers who provide important information that leads to a prosecution.
- The bill creates a $300 million fund using money collected by Treasury or the DOJ.
- It applies to violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, and/or the Trading with the Enemy Act.
According to Chuck Grassley, who cosponsored the bill with senators Raphael Warnock, Elizabeth Warren and Catherine Cortez Mastro, AMLA will be helpful concerning the war in Ukraine:
“I’m optimistic that our new program encouraging individuals to come forward for suspected sanctions violations will be successful as well.” Senator Grassley further added that “[g]iven the expansive sanctions we’ve implemented on Russia as they wage an unjust war in Ukraine, our legislation is urgently needed to hold bad actors accountable.”
The bill is now before the U.S. House of Representatives. While the new Congress is sorting through its priorities in mid-January of 2023, the House Committee on Financial Services’s report on AML Whistleblower Improvement Act extensively cited comments filed by the National Whistleblower Center on the bill.
Watch this space for more information on this story.