Global Financial Integrity

 

Bipartisan Bill to Combat Anonymous Companies Introduced by Eight Key Senators

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2019

Bipartisan Bill to Combat Anonymous Companies Introduced by Eight Key Senators

Statement by Global Financial Integrity

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Introduced Thursday by a bipartisan group of eight US senators, the Improving Laundering Laws and Increasing Comprehensive Information Tracking of Criminal Activity in Shell Holdings (ILLICIT CASH) Act (S.2563) seeks to close a crucial gap in federal anti-money laundering laws by preventing the incorporation of anonymous companies in the US. The measure is sponsored by members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Doug Jones (D-AL), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), John Kennedy (R-LA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Jerry Moran (R-KS).

The ILLICIT CASH Act follows on the heels of the Corporate Transparency Act of 2019 (H.R.2513), which passed out of the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services by a bipartisan vote of 43-16 in June of this year. While there are differences between the bills, both would require companies to disclose their true, beneficial owners at the time of incorporation and thereafter if ownership changes hands.

Tom Cardamone, President & CEO of Global Financial Integrity, issued the following statement:

“Anonymous companies are a virus within the American financial system. They facilitate human, drugs and arms trafficking, as well as the wholesale purchase of major real estate across the United States. In addition to such illicit activity, anonymous companies have also been used by regimes hostile to the US, including Iran and North Korea. Law enforcement agencies have frequently lamented how a paucity of beneficial ownership information can stop an investigation in its tracks, and this bill would ensure officers have the information they need to ‘follow the money.’

“Beyond the US, anonymous companies have been used as vehicles to assist the ransacking of state assets in countries around the world, like Equatorial Guinea and Venezuela. The United States has a responsibility to stifle such activity, as it directly contributes to civil wars, humanitarian emergencies and collapsed healthcare and infrastructure systems.

“The ILLICIT CASH Act would prevent malevolent regimes and criminal actors from using the US financial system to clean, hide and ultimately spend their ill gotten gains. It would safeguard our financial system from abuse by despots, traffickers and human rights violators and help support democratic and transparent governance at home and abroad.

“Global Financial Integrity applauds the leadership of Senators Warner, Cotton, Rounds, Jones, Menendez, Kennedy, Cortez Masto and Moran and appreciates the time and effort they have made on addressing this critical issue. While there are some provisions we hope can be modified as the bill moves forward, this bill is ultimately a step in the right direction. We look forward to working with the senators and Committee and Senate leadership to help move this effort forward.”

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Journalist Contact:

Maureen Heydt
Communications Coordinator, Global Financial Integrity
+1 202 293 0740 ext. 227
mheydt@nullgfintegrity.org

Notes to Editors:

  • Click here to read a 1-page summary of the ILLICIT CASH Act.
  • Click here to read a section-by-section analysis of the ILLICIT CASH Act.
  • Click here to read the full text of the ILLICIT CASH Act.
  • Click here for a list of individuals and organizations endorsing beneficial ownership transparency.