The Financial Action Task Force’s frequently asked questions webpage, states “Large-scale money laundering schemes invariably contain cross-border elements.”  Large-scale money launderers are not the only ones who hide assets by utilizing cross-border or offshore elements.  Divorcing spouses, judgment debtors and anyone else, may conceal valuable assets by combining offshore elements with additional ones.

These elements are sometimes financial accounts opened anonymously, in the name of shell companies.  As suggested by “If A Judge Can See Your Assets, He Can Seize Them”, financial accounts and shell companies can be put to work to disguise the beneficial ownership of assets.  Over the summer, Senator Carl Levin (MI) sponsored two bills which try to address this abuse.   These two bills are the subject of today’s “Asset Search News Roundup”:

  1. The Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act (S. 1346), was introduced in the U.S. Senate on July 12, 2011 and it is discussed here.  This bill could help the IRS identify the beneficial owners of offshore financial accounts.  The bill would also compel persons in the business of forming shell companies, to follow anti-money laundering rules.  Under these rules, the owners of shell companies would presumably be identified.
  2. The Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act (S.1483), similarly requires beneficial owners of shell companies and other business entities, to be identified.  Senator Levin introduced S.1483 in the Senate on August 2, 2011.  Its predecessor, (S.569), was introduced on March 11, 2009, as shown by the “June 10, 2010 Asset Search News Roundup.”

Copyright 2012 Fred L. Abrams