The United States has effectively banned anonymous shell companies from operating in the country with the passing of a new anti-corruption law described by campaigners as “historic”.
Under the new rules, companies will be required to provide “beneficial ownership” information to the treasury department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit.
Anonymous companies, which can be used to hide funds illicitly obtained by criminals and corrupt foreign officials, would be effectively banned.
“It’s a huge step forward in fighting illicit finance at home and around the globe,” said Gary Kalman, the group’s US director.
Anti-corruption campaigners have lobbied for years to close loopholes that allow criminals to hide money in the US.
Corporate secrecy rules have previously made it possible for anyone to create an anonymous shell company, in which they could hide enormous sums of money without being identifiable.
That information can be shared with law enforcement —including those acting on behalf of a foreign law enforcement agency — as well as for national security and intelligence purposes. »