April 08,2016

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Wyden Hails Efforts By Treasury to Combat Tax Evasion and Terrorist Financing

Following Wyden’s Call to End Abuse of Anonymous Shell Companies, Treasury Points to Action and Dependencies Including Beneficial Owner Regulation

Disclosures Out of Panama Shine Light on the Need to Stop Tax Evasion in the U.S. and Overseas

WASHINGTON Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today recognized the U.S. Treasury for their commitment to pursuing necessary steps to protect the U.S. financial system from abuse. Wyden sent a letter to the agency earlier this year asking them to do everything possible to stop abuses by anonymous shell companies including tax evasion, terrorist financing and defrauding the Internal Revenue Service and Medicare. 

In their response to Wyden, Treasury pointed to the current lack of, and need for, regulation that requires financial institutions to identify and verify the “beneficial owners” of a company at the time it is formed to complement their existing efforts. Currently the United States is not fully compliant with any of the G20 principles intended to create beneficial ownership transparency, lagging behind its peer nations, according to a recent study by Transparency International.

“The disclosures coming out of Panama shine a light on a core problem both here and overseas which is abuse by these anonymous shell companies,” said Wyden. “The rules are so weak in the U.S. that Americans don’t need to go to Panama to rip off the system. The response I received yesterday from Treasury demonstrates they share my sense of urgency in tackling this problem. I look forward to reviewing new Treasury rules that require banks to identify the owners of shell companies opening new accounts and working together to put tough regulation in place that creates transparency to end the larger issue of fraud by these anonymous organizations.”

The full letter from Treasury can be found here. Wyden’s previous call for action can be found here.