Reports

Hidden Menace: How secret company owners are putting troops at risk and harming American taxpayers

Since the financial crisis and release of the Panama Papers, we have heard a lot about the revenue governments lose to tax avoidance and evasion, but what about the losses resulting from corruption and fraud when governments spend money on goods, services and infrastructure?

Around the world governments spend $9.5 trillion each year on public procurement.  It should be no surprise that fraudsters, and corrupt officials, take advantage of this. According to research by the UN, corruption may amount to as much as 25% of the value of government procurement contracts worldwide.

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Ernst and Young Study Finds that 91% of Senior Business Executives Believe that Beneficial Ownership Information is Important

Never before have governments and multinational institutions cooperated so extensively in combating bribery and corruption. The transnational nature of the issue led the G20 major economies to recognize bribery and corruption as an important impediment to economic growth and the group’s focus on corruption has continued under its Chinese presidency in 2016. The G20 outlined its priorities in the “2015-2016 G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan” identifying key areas where economies and multinational organizations must strengthen their cooperation.

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Global Shell Games: Testing Money Launderers’ and Terrorist Financiers’ Access to Shell Companies

For criminals moving large sums of dirty money internationally, there is no better device than an untraceable shell company. This paper reports the results of an experiment soliciting offers for these prohibited anonymous shell corporations. Our research team impersonated a variety of low- and high-risk customers, including would-be money launderers, corrupt officials, and terrorist financiers when requesting the anonymous companies. Evidence is drawn from more than 7,400 email solicitations to more than 3,700 Corporate Service Providers that make and sell shell companies in 182 countries. The experiment allows us to test whether international rules are actually effective when they mandate that those selling shell companies must collect identity documents from their customers. Shell companies that cannot be traced back to their real owners are one of the most common means for laundering money, giving and receiving bribes, busting sanctions, evading taxes, and financing terrorism.

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