Thursday, May 05, 2016

U.S. tightens checks on anonymous companies following Panama Papers release

By Ana Swanson, WashPost

The Obama administration announced several rules Thursday evening meant to combat tax evasion, money laundering and financial crime amid renewed scrutiny over the use of offshore accounts and anonymous companies to conceal money.

The rules, which include requiring financial institutions to find out and keep records on the real owners behind the companies that use their services, aim to help U.S. law enforcement pierce the layers of anonymous shell companies that people can use to disguise their financial dealings around the world.

The announcement follows a month of intense scrutiny after the release to media organizations of more than 11 million leaked documents detailing the global offshore industry.

The Panama Papers, which are the corporate records of one global law firm, Panama City-based Mossack Fonseca, show how wealthy individuals have masked their identity and secretly stashed money across the globe. There’s nothing illegal about the use of offshore companies; in practice, however, criminals take advantage of the anonymity that these companies provide.

(More here.)

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