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GFI Welcomes House Bills to Return Rule of Law to US Financial System, Expose Anonymous Shell Firms

Holding Individuals Accountable and Deterring Money Laundering Act Would Address Anti-Money Laundering Deficiencies and “Too Big To Jail” Problem at American Banks; Bring U.S. in Line with International Standards


Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act Would Tackle Anonymous U.S. “Phantom Firms”


October 23, 2013
Clark Gascoigne, +1 202 815-4029


WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) welcomed the introduction late Wednesday night in the U.S. House of Representatives of two pieces of legislation aimed at stemming the flow of trillions of dollars in dirty money through the U.S. financial system.  The Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization noted that the two bills would bring the United States in line with certain international anti-money laundering (AML) standards, target individuals responsible for laundering money, and bring an end to the abuse of anonymous U.S. shell companies.


“Wall Street banks and anonymous U.S. shell companies are currently leaving the door wide open for dirty money to flow through the U.S. economy,” said GFI President Raymond Baker.  “It’s about time Congress take action to protect us from terrorists, traffickers, and tax cheats by cleaning up our financial system.”


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GFI Calls on World Bank to Prioritize Curtailing Illicit Financial Flows

World’s Largest Development Institution Urged to Tackle World’s Largest Development Challenge


World Bank Should Officially Call for Transparency in the Global Financial System, Shun Phantom Firms


October 10, 2013
Clark Gascoigne, +1 202 293 0740 x222


WASHINGTON, DC – As central bank governors, finance ministers, and global leaders gather in Washington ahead of the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) this weekend, Global Financial Integrity (GFI) calls on the World Bank to prioritize the issue of illicit financial flows from developing countries on its agenda.


“The World Bank is the largest development institution in the world, and for too long it has ignored the largest development challenge facing poor countries – the illegal outflow of trillions of dollars resulting from crime, corruption, and tax evasion,” said GFI President Raymond Baker.  “Our rigorous economic research finds that nearly $1 trillion flows illicitly out of developing countries each year, exacerbating poverty, fueling inequality, and undercutting global development.”


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Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act Would Raise $220bln, Protect US Taxpayers, Assist Developing Countries

Senators Levin, Whitehouse, Begich, Shaheen Introduce Legislation to Close Offshore Tax Loopholes and Foster Transparency


September 19, 2013
Clark Gascoigne, +1 202 293 0740 x222


WASHINGTON, DC – As congressional leaders weigh presenting an overhaul of the U.S. tax code, Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced legislation Thursday to increase transparency in the financial system and close several offshore tax loopholes.  While the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the bill would generate roughly $220 billion in U.S. government revenue over ten years, Global Financial Integrity (GFI) particularly welcomed the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act (STHAA) for its impact on developing nations, which lose nearly $1 trillion per year in illicit outflows of money due to tax haven secrecy.


“This is a very welcome piece of legislation for both American and developing country taxpayers,” said Heather Lowe, legal counsel and director of government affairs at GFI—a Washington-DC based research and advocacy organization. “It would scrap several egregious offshore tax loopholes—helping to level the playing field between small businesses and multinational corporations, increasing information and transparency for investors, and strengthening law enforcement and tax collection abilities.”


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GFI’s Heather Lowe to Discuss Money Laundering at CBC Event Featuring Attorney General Eric Holder

Hosted by Rep. Maxine Waters, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Forum to Discuss Rethinking Mandatory Minimums for Drug Crimes and Targeting Money Laundering and Major Drug Traffickers

 

Opening Keynote Address to Be Delivered by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

 

EVENT ADVISORY
September 19, 2013
Clark Gascoigne, +1 202 293 0740 x222

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Heather Lowe, Legal Counsel and Director of Government Affairs at Global Financial Integrity (GFI), is slated to appear on a panel Thursday afternoon at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundations’ Annual Legislative Conference, discussing the importance of refocusing U.S. law enforcement policies on targeting money laundering and major drug traffickers.  Hosted by the Honorable Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the panel discussion will follow opening remarks delivered by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

 

Ms. Lowe released the below comment ahead of her appearance Thursday:

 

“For too long—and to little effect—U.S. policy and law enforcement have focused on drug busts and placing small-time drug dealers behind bars.  The United Nations estimates that worldwide over forty percent of cocaine is seized somewhere between production and consumption. Meanwhile, it also estimates that less than one half of one percent of laundered criminal money is interdicted globally.  Drug trafficking is a profitable business.  If we want to curtail drug trafficking and other serious crimes, then the U.S. must place the emphasis on following the money and cracking down on those who enable criminals to launder their dirty money.


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GFI Applauds G20 Commitment in Historic Crackdown on Tax Evasion

All G20 Countries Expect to Be Actively Exchanging Information Automatically by End of 2015

 

Promises to Aid Developing Counties with Implementation Welcome, but More Must be Done to Help World’s Poorest

 

G20 Fails to Tackle Anonymous Shell Companies

 

September 6, 2013
Clark Gascoigne, +1 202 293 0740 x222

 

WASHINGTON, DC – The G20 leaders agreed today to begin sharing tax information automatically between themselves—expecting to be able to implement the agreement by the end of 2015—in a move hailed by Global Financial Integrity (GFI) as a major advancement in the fight against tax evasion.  GFI welcomed the commitment by world leaders to assist low-income countries’ effort to additionally ensure their eventual participation in the automatic exchange of tax information. However, the Washington, DC-based research and advocacy group expressed disappointment in the G20 declaration’s omission of a timeframe to include developing countries in such a system.

 

“This is a major advancement in the battle against tax evasion,” said Heather Lowe, GFI’s Legal Counsel and Director of Government Affairs.  “Four or five years ago, the idea of automatically exchanging tax information wasn’t even on the table.  Now, the twenty largest economies in the world have announced that they will begin sharing information automatically within two to three years.  This is really a sea change.”

 

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To Stimulate Growth, G20 Should Prioritize Illicit Financial Flows at St. Petersburg Summit

Tax Evasion, Crime, Corruption Major Detriments to Growth, Exacerbate Income Inequality

 

GFI: G20 Should Embrace Country-by-Country Reporting, Crack Down on Anonymous Shell Companies

 

Russian Crackdown on Civil Society “Casts a Dark Cloud” on Summit

 

September 3, 2013
Clark Gascoigne, +1 202 293 0740 x222

 

WASHINGTON, DC – As world leaders prepare to meet in Moscow this week to discuss stagnating economic growth, Global Financial Integrity (GFI) urged G20 leaders to take strong action to curtail illicit financial flows, the proceeds of crime, corruption, and tax evasion.  The Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization called on world leaders to expand efforts to crackdown on abusive tax dodging and the anonymity surrounding anonymous shell companies.

 

“Our research shows that illicit financial flows are one of the biggest hindrances to economic growth and one of the primary drivers of inequality in rich and poor nations alike,” said Raymond Baker, President of GFI.  “The global economy is at a very tenuous place right now with major emerging economies like India, Brazil, and Malaysia in turmoil, China showing signs of slower growth, and European nations just beginning a very fragile recovery.”

 

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FACT Coalition Welcomes Introduction of Bill to End Anonymous Shell Companies

Transparency Advocates, Small Business Groups, Investors, Labor Unions Hail New Legislation as Key to Curtailing Crime, Corruption, Fraud, Tax Evasion

 

August 1, 2013
Clark Gascoigne, +1 202 293 0740 x222

 

WASHINGTON, DC – The Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition applauded today’s introduction of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate crucial to stemming the flow of dirty money hidden behind anonymous American shell companies. The alliance of civil society organizations, small business groups, investors, and labor unions urged lawmakers to move quickly to pass this critical piece of legislation.

 

The Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act, sponsored by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Tom Harkin (D-IA), requires corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) in the United States to disclose the natural person(s) who maintain(s) an economic interest in or control over the company at the time it is created (the “beneficial owner(s)”). The bill seeks to put an end to the secrecy of “phantom firms”, anonymous shell companies with no physical presence formed to hold assets and disguise their source or true owner.

 

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