Washington DC - The Obama Administration announced actions to combat money laundering, corruption and tax evasion. In April, the "Panama Papers" leak exposed how "anonymous shell corporations" facilitate crime and corruption.
"It's crucial to global development that we stop corruption and tax evasion," noted Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development coalition Jubilee USA Network. "Developing countries lose a trillion dollars a year to corruption, crime and tax evasion."
According to a 2012 academic study from Griffith University, the United States is the second-easiest country in the world to set up an anonymous shell company. These types of companies are accused of being vehicles that can facilitate crime and tax evasion. Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced legislation February 3 to address the issue. After the "Panama Papers" leak, which cited more than 200,000 shell companies in its revelations, the number of co-sponsors of the House bill nearly doubled. In announcing its own legislation, the White House noted that anonymous shell company formation in the United States "can only be resolved through Congressional action."
Some US-based anonymous shell companies enabled a range of crimes, including human trafficking, weapons sales, medicare fraud, terrorism financing and evading sanctions. The current bill, "the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act," HR 4450 and S 2489, is endorsed by a number of law enforcement organizations and a broad range of faith, development and human rights organizations.
"While we are grateful for White House action, we need to see what impacts their actions will have," stated LeCompte. "I'm hopeful that we can reach bipartisan consensus to end the illegitimate use of anonymous shell companies."
Read more about the Panama Papers and anonymous shell companies
Read more about the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act
Read a sampling of letters from law enforcement organizations on HR 4450 and S 2489: the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Assocation and the Fraternal Order of Police.
Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations and 550 faith communities working with 50 Jubilee global partners. Jubilee USA builds an economy that serves, protects and promotes the participation of the most vulnerable. Jubilee USA has won critical global financial reforms and more than $130 billion in debt relief to benefit the world's poorest people. www.jubileeusa.org
Available for interview: Eric LeCompte, Executive Director
Contact: Greg Williams, Communications Director
greg(at)jubileeusa.org / (o) (202) 783-3566 x101 (m) (443) 854-1405