White House Inaction on Rules For Hedge Funds Is Criticized

Washington Post – The Bush administration’s decision to drop proposed money-laundering rules for hedge funds is "inexplicable, ill-timed and unwise," Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) said yesterday.

Hedge funds, private investment pools whose investors are often wealthy individuals, have drawn increased scrutiny during the financial crisis. But even before the market troubles, some legislators worried that the largely unregulated funds could serve as a vehicle for money laundering, perhaps for tax evaders or terrorists.

"Hedge funds are unregulated financial companies that can handle millions of dollars in offshore money without any legal obligation to check who is behind the funds or report suspicious activities," Levin said in a statement. "But instead of plugging the hedge fund regulatory gap by issuing a final rule, the Administration went the opposite way, withdrew its anti-money laundering proposal, and offered nothing in its place."

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