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Biden White House unveils first strategy to fight corruption on U.S., global levels

Biden White House unveils first strategy to fight corruption on U.S., global levels
President Joe Biden speaks on Sunday during the Kennedy Center Honorees Reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. Photo by Al Drago/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 6 (UPI) -- The White House unveiled a first-of-its-kind strategy on Monday intended to step up the fight against corruption on multiple levels worldwide, including new regulations intended to make it more difficult to launder money with real estate purchases.

The first Strategy on Countering Corruption lists a number of efforts to identify criminals and criminal networks while unifying law enforcement and calling for federal branches like the State Department, Treasury and the U.S. Agency for International Development to be more proactive.

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"The strategy outlines a whole-of-government approach to elevating the fight against corruption," the White House said in a statement.

"It places particular emphasis on better understanding and responding to the threat's transnational dimensions, including by taking additional steps to reduce the ability of corrupt actors to use the U.S. and international financial systems to hide assets and launder the proceeds of corrupt acts."

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The strategy will increase law enforcement resources and information-sharing in the intelligence community. It also involves transparency regulations to target real estate transactions, which historically have been a popular method to launder ill-gotten money.

"The impacts of transnational corruption have been shown to tilt the economic playing field, in part by raising housing costs and price out families ... as corrupt actors make illicit real estate purchases," a senior White House official told reporters.

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"The strategy places particular emphasis on better understanding and responding to the transnational dimensions of corruption, including by taking meaningful steps to reduce the ability of corrupt actors to use the U.S. and international financial systems to launder the proceeds of their acts."

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The plan involves five main pillars -- streamlining federal efforts to fight corruption, curbing illicit finance, holding corrupt actors accountable, strengthening "anti-corruption architecture" and improving diplomatic engagement and "leveraging foreign resources to achieve anti-corruption goals."

"For example, the Department of Defense is committing, through this strategy, to strengthening its planning processes ... and to conduct more frequent security cooperation evaluations in countries with significant risks of corruption," the official added.

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