from Development Channel

Corruption Brief Series: How Anonymous Shell Companies Finance Insurgents, Criminals, and Dictators

September 13, 2017

Mossack Fonseca law firm sign is pictured in Panama City, April 4, 2016. Carlos Jasso/Reuters
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Corruption

International Finance

Transnational Crime

The latest paper in the Corruption Brief series from the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy program at the Council on Foreign Relations was published this month. In the brief, Dr. Jodi Vittori, senior policy advisor at Global Witness, addresses the myriad problems posed by anonymous shell companies – corporate entities with few or no employees and no substantive business, which offer a convenient way to privately move money through the international financial system. Such companies, she argues, offer a vehicle for illicit financial flows from corruption, narcotrafficking, and terrorism – and many of them are based in the United States. Vittori calls on policymakers to pass legislation to disclose ownership information for all companies, increase federal contract transparency, and boost other business and government transparency mechanisms at home and abroad. Doing so, she concludes, will restrict a critical tool for corrupt financial flows around the world. You can read the full report here.

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