By Leslie Caldwell – It is no secret that the U.S. financial system is an attractive playground: We have the deepest, most liquid and most stable markets, and criminals seek to use the tools of our financial and banking systems to serve their illicit purposes. For an illegal enterprise to succeed, criminals must be able to hide, move and get access to their proceeds without detection.
And when they are successful, their actions serve as a dual threat: Their criminal conduct itself can threaten the safety and security of all citizens, and their use of the financial and banking systems to hide their gains — or to fund additional criminal conduct — undermines the integrity of those systems.
The U.S. does not require corporate entities to disclose their true owners to the government. Corrupt foreign officials and other criminals are well aware of this loophole and exploit it, for example, to purchase expensive assets, such as real estate, here in the U.S.
As a result, we see the movement of billions of dollars — some of which represents proceeds of corruption or other crimes — through shell companies around the world. Whether an individual’s decision to use a shell company is motivated by corruption, tax evasion or a legitimate investment strategy, the end result is a lack of financial transparency.
This lack of transparency is precisely what makes the U.S. attractive to criminals, including corrupt foreign officials, who seek to use the financial systems to hide their assets. more> https://goo.gl/76QAAn