U.S. Called Out as Among Easiest Countries to Open Anonymous Shell Companies Renewing Calls for Congressional Action
WASHINGTON, DC — The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published more than 200,000 documents from a trove of leaked files known as the Panama Papers this afternoon, renewing calls from anti-money laundering and tax policy experts in favor of bipartisan transparency measures to curb terror finance, corruption, and tax evasion. The bill is called the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act (H.R.4450 |S. 2489).
Statement of Clark Gascoigne, deputy director of the FACT Coalition:
“While the Panama Papers focus attention on Panama, it’s important to not miss the connections to the U.S., where the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca has affiliated offices engaged in similar business. Bipartisan legislation in Congress would shine a light on the fraud. A bill in Congress would require disclosure of the real, human people who own or control a company which is the only way law enforcement can identify who is behind the criminal activity and get at the funding that drives it. It is time for lawmakers to own up to this problem and take action to protect American citizens from terrorists, human traffickers, and arms dealers.
“Anonymous companies are one of the primary tools for laundering dirty money to escape law enforcement, yet the U.S. is the second easiest place on Earth for a criminal to set up an anonymous shell company that can be used to launder money.
“The Panama Papers have exposed loopholes in our financial system that should put pressure on the Senate to ratify several longstanding tax treaties that would help detect and deter tax evasion both at home and abroad. These tax treaties are key to helping law enforcement crack down on rampant tax evasion to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Our country should not be a safe haven for the dirty money of foreign tax evaders, just as foreign countries should not harbor the illicit assets of U.S. tax evaders.
“It’s time for the Senate to ratify the outstanding tax treaties.”
The Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition is a nonpartisan coalition that unites over 100 leading small business, faith-based, human rights, anti-corruption, public-interest, labor, and global development organizations from across the ideological spectrum in favor of ending the abuse of anonymous companies and tax havens.
Notes to Editors:
- Read an HTML version of this release on our website.
- Review the database of Panama Papers documents from the ICIJ here.
- Read FACT’s press release, “Anti-Money Laundering Experts Deeply Concerned by Administration’s Flawed ‘Panama Papers’ Response” published Friday, May 6, 2016.