Broad legislation to combat the use of shell companies by criminals and foreign adversaries is nearing the finish line after more than 10 years of lobbying and negotiations, reports The Hill. The landmark measure to overhaul financial crime safeguards is hitching a ride on the annual defense authorization bill, poised for passage this month. The legislation would require businesses to disclose whoever ultimately owns or controls the entity at the time of formation to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a division of the Treasury Department, to help prevent the use of anonymous shell companies for criminal purposes. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has bipartisan support for the measure from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and key members of both parties.
“It is past time to put an end to the secrecy that allows drug cartels, human traffickers, arms dealers, terrorists and kleptocrats to exploit the United States’ banking system in order to carry out anti-American activities,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). President Donald Trump has veto the defense policy bill unless it includes a repeal of a 1996 statute that provides legal protections to internet companies and allows for content moderation. Maloney said the bill addresses national security concerns, making the defense bill an appropriate vehicle for its passage. “Terrorist organizations use anonymous shell companies to finance their operations and move their money around, so cracking down on these shell companies will cut off financial support for the terrorists who threaten our citizens and our national security,” she said.