U.S. the 2nd Easiest Place in the World to Open Anonymous Shell Companies to Launder Money
70+ Faith Leaders, Small Business Owners, Citizen-Lobbyists Headed to Washington Next Week to Call on Lawmakers to End Abuse of Anonymous Companies
WASHINGTON, DC — A trove of more than 11 million documents from a Panamanian law firm leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists shows the deadly, devastating toll that anonymous companies take on the world, highlighting the need for U.S. action, according to the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition.
“Whether you’re a terrorist, a drug lord, or a corrupt foreign dictator, anonymous companies are one of the primary tools for laundering dirty money to escape the eyes of 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,” said Clark Gascoigne, Interim Executive Director of the FACT Coalition, which unites over 100 leading small business, faith-based, human rights, investor, anti-corruption, public-interest, government-watchdog, labor, and global development organizations from across the ideological spectrum on the issue of anonymous companies.
“While the so-called ‘Panama Papers’ focus a lot of attention on Panama, it’s important to not miss the connections to the U.S., where Mossack Fonseca—the Panamanian firm—has affiliated offices engaged in similar business. It is time for Congress to own up to this problem and take action to protect American citizens from terrorists, drug cartels, and arms dealers.”
Beyond directly facilitating crime, corruption, and terrorism, these anonymous shell companies are part of a web of global tax haven secrecy that exacerbates economic inequality and illicitly drains more than a trillion dollars per year from developing and emerging economies.
70 Faith Leaders, Small Business Owners Headed to Washington Next Week
Understanding the scourge of anonymous shell companies and the U.S. complicity in the problem, over 70 American faith leaders, small business owners, and public interest advocates from more than 20 states are flying to Washington next week to ask their Senators and Representatives to support the bipartisan Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act (H.R.4450 |S. 2489), which would require the disclosure of the real people who, directly or through another corporation, own a substantial portion of the company (or have some control over it) at the time of incorporation and that the information is kept up to date.
FACT Coalition spokespeople are available for comment on the Panama Papers, the advocacy fly-in days, and the abuse of anonymous companies. Contact Clark Gascoigne at [email protected] or +1 202.813.0290.
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