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WASHINGTON-Congressman John LaFalce (D-N.Y.), ranking member of the Financial Services Committee, and Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), sent a letter September 18 urging President George W. Bush to take bolder, international steps to combat money laundering regarding the role of money laundering in financing terrorist acts. The lawmakers have introduced the International Counter-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (H.R. 1114/ S. 398), providing the Treasury Secretary authority and discretion to address specific money laundering problems, which cannot be accomplished under current law. The Banking and Financial Services Committee overwhelmingly passed this legislation last year, they pointed out. “The campaign to prevent future terrorist acts against our nation will not be successful unless we cut off the funds that fuel terrorism,” the letter read. “The horrendous attacks of September 11 could not have taken place without the movement of the terrorists’ assets through the global financial system. The events of last week underscore the need for a concerted anti-money laundering offensive, both internationally and domestically.” Kerry and LaFalce recommended the administration call an emergency meeting of the G-7 nations and the international Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering to create “a more vigorous international strategy.” The U.S. should also impose bilateral and multilateral sanctions against any nation that has, “through neglect or design,” allowed its financial systems to be used by terrorists.

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