The enactment of legislation in the UK that calls for a public registry of beneficial company ownership information (AML Newsflow, 20 April 2015) raises pressure on the US to clean up its own house according to Global Financial Integrity (GFI).

The Washington-based organisation that aims to curtail illicit financial flows described the new law as “a landmark piece of legislation” also called on all countries to follow the UK’s lead.

Taking the lead
“Anonymous companies are one of the biggest tools for laundering the proceeds of crime, corruption, and tax evasion. Creating registries of the true, human, ‘beneficial’ owners of each company is a common sense approach to curbing financial crime and the tremendous flow of illegal money,” said GFI’s policy counsel, Joshua Simmons.

“We are very pleased to see the UK take the lead on this issue, and we call on all countries – especially the US – to follow the straightforward standard set by the UK,” he added.

US money laundering
According to GFI, the US is the second easiest place in the world, after Kenya, for criminals to open anonymous companies to launder dirty money.

GFI reckons that roughly US$1 trillion flows illicitly out of developing and emerging economies each year, facilitated by opacity in the global financial system, of which anonymous companies are a major culprit.

Click here to read an HTML version of this press release on our website.

Click here to read the five-part February 2015 series in The New York Times, “Towers of Secrecy,” about anonymous shell companies and New York real estate.