30-day comment period on to-be-drafted regulations that would make it harder to obscure who controls a company. Among the details to be worked out are what entities should report and when; how to collect, protect and update information for a database; and the criteria for sharing with law enforcement.

“We could not be more excited,” Kenneth Blanco, the director of the Treasury’s Financial Criminal Enforcement Network (FinCEN), told bankers recently. The U.S. has been under pressure to address its vulnerability to money laundering and financial crimes:

  • In 2016, the international Financial Action Task Force gave the country a failing grade on transparency of company ownership.

  • In 2018, banks and financial institutions began having to collect that information from clients to help law enforcement identify individuals.

  • In January, Congress passed the Corporate Transparency Act, which requires businesses to report ownership to the government.

New rules could make forming small businesses, special purpose vehicles and other closely held entities “significantly” more burdensome, said Steve Ganis of Mintz, an expert in anti-money laundering regulation. “FinCEN’s new regime will make things much more complicated for start-ups, where control and ownership are highly fluid,” he said. Public companies and many larger businesses would be exempt because they already face stricter scrutiny.

Deals

  • Flipkart, the Indian e-commerce company owned by Walmart, is reportedly planning to go public through an I.P.O. this year. (Bloomberg)

  • Grab, the Singaporean tech giant, is near a deal to merge with a SPAC backed by Altimeter Capital at a $35 billion valuation. It would be the biggest-ever blank check deal. (FT)

  • Fox sued the owner of FanDuel over the price of its option to buy a stake in the sports betting service. (CNBC)

Politics and policy

Tech

  • Coinbase, whose direct listing is set for next week, said it collected more revenue in the first quarter this year than in all of 2020. (CNBC)

  • The audio chat start-up Clubhouse is said to be raising funds at a $4 billion valuation. (Bloomberg)

  • The S.E.C. accused an actor of running a $690 million Ponzi scheme built around false claims of deals with Netflix and HBO. (Bloomberg)

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