The U.S. officials like to criticize the European state for not acting rigorously enough against money-laundering and terrorist financing. However, the fact is that the obligation to disclose the ultimate beneficial owners (UBO) behind companies has been in place in the EU for several years. There are no more anonymous shareholders in the EU. In the U.S., such a law has only now been passed.
The U.S Senate on Friday passed a bill adopting anti-money laundering (AML) rules and banning anonymous shell companies. It was about time. It will make it easier for law enforcement and tax enforcement agencies to fight crime and illicit money flows. In 2011, the World Bank found that the United States each year produced nearly 10 times as many legal entities with anonymous owners as 41 tax havens combined. The United States’ weak rules on disclosing corporate owners have allowed criminals to use legal entities to shuffle their cash around the world, according to the authorities.
Like in the EU, the bill requires most companies to report their UBOs to the government. Moreover, it allows greater information sharing between law enforcement and regulators and authorizes the use of new suspicious activity monitoring tools.