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FBI says 'we must learn from the Panama Papers'

Published: May 25, 2019
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Source: icij.org

Allowing the owners of shell companies to hide their identities from United States authorities constitutes a “significant loophole” in the country’s ability to tackle money laundering and illicit financing, a senior Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) official told a powerful Washington committee this week.

This cloak of legal anonymity facilitated by state laws is frustrating law enforcement efforts to track up to $2 trillion in annual proceeds from international crime, Acting Deputy Assistant Director, FBI Criminal Investigative Division, Steven M. D’Antuono warned members of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee on May 21.

D’Antuono said: “The FBI has countless investigations, spanning criminal and national security threats, in which illicit actors, operating both domestically and internationally, use shell and front companies to conceal their nefarious activities and true identities. The strategic use of these entities makes investigations exponentially more difficult and laborious.

“The ability to easily identify the beneficial owners of these shell companies would allow the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to quickly and efficiently mitigate the threats posed by the illicit movement of the succeeding funds.”

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