The Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Whistleblower Improvement Act was signed into law by President Biden on December 29. The law has been described as “the most important transnational anti-corruption whistleblower law.” In a new article in Reuters, a leading whistleblower attorney explains how the law will in particular “have a direct impact on the ability of U.S. law enforcement agencies to track down assets held by Russian oligarchs and sanctioned entities.”
The AML Whistleblower Improvement Act offers mandatory whistleblower awards and anti-retaliation protections to individuals who disclose money laundering and sanctions violations. While the AML of Act of 2020 established an AML whistleblower program, loopholes in the legislation undermined the program. The AML Whistleblower Improvement Act addresses these problems.
In the Reuters article, Stephen M. Kohn, founding partner of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto and Chairman of the Board of the National Whistleblower Center, explains that “[a]lthough the AML Whistleblower Improvement Act broadly covers violations of both money laundering and sanctions requirements, the ability to use this law immediately to enforce all of the financial restrictions placed on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine was the driving force behind its passage.”
Kohn analyzes the specific provisions of the AML Whistleblower Improvement Act and outlines how they will efficiently incentivize whistleblowers with inside knowledge on Russian oligarchs’ hidden wealth.
“The hidden gem within the AML Whistleblower Improvement Act was its ability to incentivize whistleblowers from inside Russia and Russia’s trading partners,” Kohn writes. “Given the law’s transnational reach, citizens from countries with financial or trade relations with Russia will have the ability to safely and effectively blow the whistle and help U.S. authorities seize sanctioned Russian wealth.”