(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Treasury plans to expand its efforts to crack down on kleptocrats in a bid to promote “systemic change” in countries fighting corruption.

Additional steps would build on the Global Magnitsky Act of 2016, which has been employed to punish Russian oligarchs and Turkish officials, Marshall Billingslea, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for terrorist financing, told a conference in Tallinn, Estonia. There is a need to target wealthy individuals, who have used the advent of crypto-currencies to act as “professional third-party money launderers,” he said.

“If we target the oligarch, if we target the high net worth-individual in that given country and sever them from the international financial system, in so doing we can induce systemic change within the society,” Billingslea said.

The Magnitsky Act, which allows the U.S. government to target individuals, companies and other entities involved in corruption or human-rights abuses anywhere in the world, is named for the Russian lawyer and whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky who died in a Moscow prison in 2009.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ott Ummelas in Tallinn at oummelas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrea Dudik at adudik@bloomberg.net, Dylan Griffiths, Brian Wingfield

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