Why bother with money laundering?


Civil Society, Business Groups Call on Congress to Support Incorporation Transparency, Ban Anonymous U.S. Shell Companies

From the FACT coalition, Global Witness, and Global Financial Integrity.

Civil Society, Business Groups Call on Congress to Support Incorporation Transparency, Ban Anonymous U.S. Shell Companies

Legislation Enjoys Support of Law Enforcement, Obama Administration; Would Clean-Up American Financial System

May 16, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, 41 business and civil society groups sent a letter to every member of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate urging them to co-sponsor the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act (S. 1483/ H.R. 3416). This bipartisan bill, which is endorsed by the Obama Administration, would require companies to disclose their ultimate owners at the time of incorporation, making it much harder for corrupt politicians, tax dodgers, terrorists and other criminals to form and hide behind anonymous U.S. shell companies.

The signatories1, who include, among others, American Sustainable Business Council, Calvert Investments, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Citizens for Tax Justice, Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition, CtW Investment Group, Domini Social Investments LLC, Friends of the Earth – US, Global Financial Integrity, Global Witness, Human Rights Watch, Jubilee USA Network, Main Street Alliance, Oxfam America, Project On Government Oversight, Revenue Watch Institute, Sunlight Foundation and U.S. Public Interest Research Group, are concerned that it is legal to form companies in the United States with hidden ownership.

The letter states:

Increased corporate transparency would curb corruption and tax evasion, promote an equitable market economy, reduce the opacity of corporate campaign contributions, help ensure a fair and level playing field for small- and medium-sized businesses, foster global development and enhance national security…

Investigations continue to reveal that American and foreign terrorists, narco-traffickers, arms dealers, corrupt foreign officials, tax evaders, individuals targeted for financial sanctions and other criminals easily and regularly set up U.S. shell companies, without providing any information about who owns or controls such companies...This enables criminals to disguise their identities behind the anonymity provided to U.S. corporations and launder dirty money through the U.S. financial system.

The full letter can be read here.

Corporate secrecy fundamentally undermines U.S. laws to combat money laundering and tax evasion, as well as U.S. efforts to tackle global corruption. A recent World Bank report found that the U.S. was a favorite destination of corrupt politicians trying to set up shell companies to access the financial system. Once corrupt and other illicit funds have been moved through an anonymous corporate vehicle into the financial system, it is much harder to track them down. Shining a light on the ultimate owners of companies, would make it easier for law enforcement to do its job. To date, eight law enforcement organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police and Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, have endorsed the legislation.

The above passage is part of an article posted in the site Tax Justice Network, an international NGO that is concerned with tax evasion, money laundering and the damages these caused to the ordinary citizens. It seems that the US is a favourite playground for money laundering while the US Govt is making a show of it by making fools of other nations, pressuring them to enforce strict regulations against money laundering. This is exactly the same modus operandi it adopts in calling their enemy nations as aggressors or warmongers when the US itself is the most aggressive warmongers today, creating tensions, starting wars and fighting wars. It screams danger when smaller countries try to acquire arms or nuclear weapons for their national defence while it is the biggest exporter of arms to the world and holds the largest collection of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.

The treachery and hypocrisy of the Americans are beyond reproach. Only dumb countries will believe the biggest international gangster and do its bidding, to waste valuable manpower and resources to police money laundering in their little countries when all the major money laundering activities are being conducted in the US.


Veritas said...

Before asking ourseleves the reason every government in the whole world is debt, we should ask the more important question. Who are the creditors?

If sovereign government can tax away the surplus that the creditors accumulate, it will not be in debt. And parasitic state like Singapore prosper itself by facilitating money laundering, tax evasion, undermining productive people elsewhere.

Globalization in essence is allowing free movement of capital, which enables the rich to dodge taxman. And debt that cannot be paid will not be paid. Eventually, the rich will realize that they are going to get default.

Matilah_Singapura said...

This is true. The largest amount of laundered money is done in the US -- the US financial system is by far the most "sophisticated" because of the vast amount of "creativity" by the top players. However, you must e a non-US citizen with wads of "secret cash" to benefit US citizens are taxed from cradle to grave, even if they are earn money abroad.

Singapore and Hong Kong are "little Zuriches" nicely st up for entrepreneurs to reduce taxes and preserve capital so that their ventures have a heightened chance of surviving and bearing fruit.

Unfortunately the same tax and banking system also attracts "bad guys" like despots who rob their cuntrees, and to a lesser degree -- criminals. The amount of money from corrupt foreign government officials still out strips the money from criminals, because government and politics is the biggest, most profitable scam on earth.

Here is an account by a young US entrepreneur who's left the US to live in HK. The Search For Greener Pastures Overseas

Anonymous said...

you r right matilah. governments and politics is the biggest & most profitable scam on earth. we ordinary folks better learn to seek real knowledge to fend for ourselves and to protect ourselves.

Veritas said...

I am not against capitalism or 100% supporting socialism. Many frustration of rich in USA are understandable. The government tax them hard hard, supporting useless civil servant and military complex. Then there are also parasitic teachers not unlike the MOE we have. These teachers take high salary and educate US citizen into some of the worst illiterate in the world.

Also there about 50% negro were born out of wedlock, on life support by food stamp supplied by rich.

In SG, PAP government has exactly the same problem as US government. Nevertheless we have high calibre people that do not give illegitimate and we support ourselves. Nevertheless that do not prevent PAP from blaming Singaporeans for all their own stupidity.

I am quite pessimistic about the future. Globalization in the end will lead to ONE-WORLD government as has demonstrated by Zollverein of Germany, 200 years ago, which lead to its unification.

ONE-WORLD government is the worst thing we can have and it has already taken shape on the form of numerous international cooperation as G8, UN...etc

Anonymous said...

Singapore must have laws to make it compulsory for all politicians to declare their assets before they are officially conferred as assembly men or ministers in Parliament. Strict and stern punishment must be meted out to those who fail to disclose fully their assets whether direct or indirect. At the end of their office bearing they must again openly declare their assets. If there is a discrepancy between their initial declaration and end of office declaration , the laws must go into full swing to investigate and if found guilty of unexplained substantial increase in wealth the culprits ill gotten gains must be confiscated and they must be sentenced to long prison terms.

No politicians in the so called Western democracies and in Singapore and South East Asia is above the scratch of innocense.


Anonymous said...

Yeah u r right.. all must declare how many pubic hair they have before anyone wants to go into public service. If not happy with this onerous requirement, they can jolly well remain in private sector and earn more money.

Also, laws against polygamy must be tightened because of the loose laws now. Any MP who commit adultery during service must be sentenced to at least 10 years imprisonment and have all political costs for staging a by- election charged against party's account instead of govt. They must also swear before court how many girls they have had sexed with before, and after becoming an MP.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Brilliant ideas you got there anon 5:26. Should put up the suggestion with your superior and get it read in parliament. The PAP should take the lead and other parties will have no choice but to follow the leader.

This is definitely an excellent suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Such good substantive ideas should be put up to your superior and let LTK put up in Parliament. At least give him something to say.

Anonymous said...

The PAP brigade is here again.