WASHINGTON-The Bush Administration recently announced it would seek a 12.7% increase in the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s budget. “FinCEN is on the front lines every day, tracking down those who attempt to use the U.S. and global financial system to plot, fund, and perpetrate acts of terrorism around the world. By proposing to substantially increase FinCEN’s resources, President Bush has reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to aggressively fight terrorism on every front,” Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said. FinCEN Director William J. Fox said the budget increase “will enable FinCEN to effectively enhance its ability to provide law enforcement and intelligence agencies with the types of strategic, financial information and analysis they need to investigate and bring criminals and terrorists to justice.” From the budget increase, FinCEN will be able to double the size of its Gateway program, which various law enforcement officials use to access data about suspected money laundering activities, as well as designing and implementing “BSA Direct,” a high-tech data retrieval system for financial investigators. The agency will also raise the number of personnel dedicated to industry outreach and regulatory support regarding anti-money laundering by 25%. Finally, it will increase the analysts providing strategic and tactical analytical products. President George W. Bush’s budget request also includes a 3.6% increase for Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control. This comes on the heels of a letter from Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that questioned whether OFAC was operating up to par.

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