October 19,2016

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Ryan Carey (202) 224-4515 

Wyden Kicks Off Inquiry To Test Disclosure Laws For Shell Companies

Utilizing the Panama Papers Database, Wyden Asks Treasury and IRS for Information Filed by Mossack Fonseca Shell Companies, Aims to Gauge Effectiveness of U.S. Disclosure Requirements

WASHINGTON – In an effort to assess the effectiveness of federal disclosure requirements intended to fight the misuse use of shell companies, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) today sent a letter to the heads of the Treasury Department and IRS requesting detailed reports on filings by the thousands of firms linked to the Panama Papers.

“I remain extremely concerned about the use of shell companies to evade taxes, commit financial crimes, and defraud the government at the expense of taxpayers,” Senator Wyden said.  “With information on thousands of shell companies from the Panama Papers out in public view, lawmakers and agencies here in the U.S. ought to put our disclosure tools to the test. This leak demonstrated just how easy it is to abuse shell companies, so I believe it is essential to determine whether the laws on the books do enough to fight that abuse.” 

Today’s letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen can be found here. The attachments referenced in today’s letter are non-public.

In May, Senator Wyden sent letters to the Secretaries of State in Nevada and Wyoming inquiring about anonymous shell companies in both states with ties to the law firm at the center of the Panama Papers leak, Mossack Fonseca. Both states have since provided incorporation documents. In a February letter, prior to the leak of the Panama Papers, Senator Wyden urged the Treasury Department to use all available tools to fight the abuse of shell companies, and he hailed the efforts detailed in their response available here.