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The US government on Friday adopted legislation that bans anonymous shell companies by forcing firms to report their true owners.
Under the new policy, US-registered companies will have to report to the government their real owners, rather than cite other corporate entities designed to conceal that information.
Anti-money laundering advocates celebrated the development.
“In my view (and if Treasury writes bold regs), it’s even more important than the Patriot Act, best law of its kind since Bank Secrecy Act passage in 1970,” tweeted Josh Rudolph, a fellow for malign finance at the Alliance for Securing Democracy.
A 2011 World Bank report found that the US led the world in anonymous shell companies, with 10 times more anonymous entities than the top 41 tax havens combined, according to Reuters.
Greg Baer, CEO of the Bank Policy Institute, told the wire service last month that “the global law enforcement and national security community will reap enormous benefits from anti-money laundering policy that stops bad actors from using shell companies to shepherd crime across international borders.”
The provision was relatively obscure as Trump and congressional leaders clashed on a variety of other provisions in the bill.
Trump said he vetoed the bill because it did not repeal legal protections for social media companies and because it sought to hamstring his drawdown of troops in Afghanistan from 4,500 in November to 2,500 by Jan. 15. He also opposed a provision to rename 10 military bases that honor Confederates.
Senate Democrats led by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders delayed the veto override vote by pushing for $2,000 COVID-19 stimulus checks.
The anti-shell company provision reportedly was advanced by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia.