U.S Transparency Bill to expose illicit funds from Nigeria, others

U.S. congress

A corporate transparency bill introduced in the U.S. Congress last week will force disclosure of Nigerians and other nationals who run shell companies registered in the United States.

The bipartisan bill, ‘Corporate Transparency Act of 2017’, introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat, and co-sponsored by Congressman Peter King, a Republican, will compel disclosure of beneficial owners “to prevent wrongdoers from exploiting United States corporations and limited liability companies for criminal gain”.

Both legislators represent New York, a city that has been cited in several investigative reports as one of the prime destinations for illicit financial flow from Nigeria.

The bill enjoys the support of members of the Financial Services Committee of the U.S. Congress, law enforcement agencies, 44 anti-corruption advocacy groups, and 27 investors whose combined asset are in excess of $855 billion.

Nearly two million companies are registered in the United States every year. The bill will amend current incorporation law which often demand only basic information from proprietors and typically does not ask for the names of beneficial owners.

In her introduction, Congresswoman Maloney said “criminals have exploited the weaknesses in state formation procedures to conceal their identities when forming corporations or limited liability companies in the United States.”

“They then use the newly created entities to commit crimes affecting interstate and international commerce such as terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering, tax evasion, securities fraud, financial fraud and acts of foreign corruption,” she added.

Congresswoman Maloney’s speech to U.S. Congress on June 28 coincides with recent uptick in Nigeria’s campaign for transparency in the financial sector. Speaking in Abuja on June 5 at the Conference on Promoting International Co-operation in Combating Illicit Financial Flows, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo observed that the Thabo Mbeki-led High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa singled out Nigeria as source of most of the illicit fund flow out of Africa.

“The Thabo Mbeki report shows that most of the illicit funds flow that comes out of Africa are from Nigeria and that shows us very clearly especially the security agencies that we simply have to do more. It is evident that so much money is leaving our shores.

“There is no way the transfer of this assets can happen without a handshake between the countries that they are transferred and the international banking institutions in the countries in which they are transferred, there is no way it will happen without some form of connivance,” Mr. Osinbajo said.

While the acting president called for criminalising financial institutions, Akere Muna of the International Anti-Corruption Conference Council, who also chaired the conference, drew attention to Mbeki report’s emphasis on the need for transparency in all segments of financial transaction as the key to combating all “aspects of illicit financial flows.”

“New and innovative means of generating illicit financial flows are emerging; more effort is needed in asset recovery and repatriation; Weak national and regional capacities impede efforts to curb illicit financial flows; Financial secrecy jurisdictions must come under closer scrutiny,” he said.

Speaking at the conference, Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, stressed the long-term commitment needed to combat cross-border illicit financial transactions.

“We’re still collaborating with other nations of the world to repatriate funds stolen from Nigeria 20 years ago”, she said.

Ms. Maloney similarly called for international collaboration on corporate transparency. “Anonymous shell companies have become the preferred vehicle for money launderers, criminal organisations, and terrorist groups because they can’t be traced back to their true owners” she said, adding that “the U.S. is one of the easiest places in the world to set up an anonymous shell companies.”

“Frankly, it’s an embarrassment. We need to fix this gaping hole in our national security and listen to law enforcement who is requesting these changes.”

Ms. Maloney who was joined by Stefanie Ostfeld, Deputy Head of Global Witness’ U.S. office; Greg Baer, President of The Clearing House Association; and Rick Fulginiti, retired Price George’s County detective and Chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police’s National Legislative Committee, among others however, assured that once the Corporate Responsibility Law takes effect, criminal organisations that are infamous for using anonymous shell companies, both foreign and domestic, to open bank accounts, launder money and will no longer be able to escape oversight and thwart law enforcement.

The Corporate Transparency Bill 2017 will empower United States Treasury Department to issue regulations requiring corporations and limited liability companies to file information about their beneficial owners.

The bill also stipulates that Treasury Department will collect beneficial ownership information for corporations registered in states that choose not ask for such information.

The bill when it becomes law would also establish minimum beneficial ownership disclosure requirements, the beneficial owners’ name, current address, and details of their non-expired passport or state-issued driver’s license must be recorded at the time of registration. False, fraudulent or incomplete beneficial ownership information will attract civil penalties.


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  • Kenechi Casmir

    America helping Nigeria to fight Corruption…Nawa ooo!!

    • Deansmart

      Cos they too are also corrupt enabler most of our stollen funds are in US

      • Apostel

        Don’t lament, is it not that people like you vote for those perverted politicians that send the money to US; as long as those bastards are from your own tribe, everything seems ok for you. Start to develpoe your fucking Nigeria and blame yourself and not other countries.

        • Deansmart

          May God punished your dirty stinking mouth, who are you ? you must be on legal high before you made your immatured and numpty comments, and why is where I comes from has to do with your unintelligent and pathetic comment literacy they say is not an indicator of intelligent

          • Apostel

            If people like you take the name of “God” in her filthy mouth, it is an insult.

          • Deansmart

            I thought you have somethings upstairs, you just a moron, so numpty

      • Tunsj

        You got that right. Many of these corrupt rogues have mansions in US.

    • Julius

      Fact is they are usually the beneficiary of the stolen funds. I don’t particularly blame them because they can only do that with our blessings . A country can only do what you allowed her to do to you just like people.

  • Tommy Soto

    Great idea and good effort by these two U.S. legislators. Hopefully it gets out of various congressional committees rapidly, is passed by the a majority vote, and signed into law by Mr Trump in record time. The U.S. banking industry is very potent and corrupt and may lodge a determined attempt to block or water down the bill. They enjoy hosting illicit funds to gamble with and pay themselves tremendous annual bonuses.

    I doubt we’d see any similar legislation written by the U.K. Parliament anytime soon. The City of London financial district is the global granddaddy of banking corruption.

    • Tommy Soto

      on further research the UK is working on legislation.

      UK legislation and regulations

      The legislation and regulations behind the UK anti-money laundering regime are set out on this page along with a selection of articles and useful links on the regulations.

      The requirements of the UK anti-money laundering regime are set out in:

      The The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds Regulations 2017 (SI 2017 No. 692)

      The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (as amended by the Crime and Courts Act 2013 and the Serious Crime Act 2015)

      The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (SI 2007 No. 2157)

      The Terrorism Act 2000 (as amended by the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, the Terrorism Act 2006 and the Terrorism Act 2000 and Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Amendment) Regulations 2007)

      https://www.icaew .com/en/library/subject-gateways/law/money-laundering/uk-legislation-and-regulations

      • Tommy Soto

        NASS is too busy summoning people and wasting time to craft, author, and pass illicit funds bills!

        • Sword of Damocles

          and trying to pass laws that will pardon looters(their fellow traitors) for their betrayal

  • FreeNigeria

    Obasanjo taught Nigerians how to steal our money and store it in foreign account. Something OBJ should be very proud of. Same way Abacha discovered importing refined petroleum to Nigeria. Nigeria worthless rulers can be credited with at least 5 misfortunes that’s destroyed this country. OBJ the great looter.

  • George

    Useless America they should tell UK to return buhari body to us first and them tell us how much the dump buhari from our money in the name of healing him.

    Buhari once said to the whole world that if he win he will stop medical tourist to the foreign lands so what happen thereafter?

    God punish you all supporting APC.

  • Lanre

    “They think when it comes to break-up, we will go along with the North. We have already told them that if they allow this country to break up, we are not going with the North. We are staying where we are. So, just take notice. If it comes to that, we will tell you that you are Arewa and we are ‘Middle-Belters.’ ”

    — Professor Jerry Gana (July 3, 2017)

  • Niger DELTAN

    United States – 2011 Yellowstone River – Oil Spill by Exxon Mobil
    =============================================
    SPILL AREA (Distance from source)— 85-mile stretch of the Yellowstone
    SPILL QUANTITY————————— 63,000 gallons of crude into Montana’s Yellowstone River, USA
    DAMAGE TO ECOSYSTEM—————Killing fish and wildlife
    CLEAN UP?———————————–YES!
    PENALTY PAID——————————- $1 million penalty against Exxon Mobil Corp
    CLEAN UP COST—————————–$135 million spent by Exxon Mobil on its response to the spill, including cleanup and repair work.
    PIPELINE STATUS—————————-The damaged section of pipeline has since been replaced
    .


    NIGERIA – Qua Iboe River – Oil spill by Exxon Mobil, October 2012
    ===============================================
    SPILL AREA (Distance from source)—– 25mile stretch (i.e., 33 – 40 km) of Qua Iboe river in Akwa IBom
    SPILL QUANTITY —————————–43,000 gallons(approx) of crude into Montana’s Yellowstone River, USA
    PENALTY PAID———————————$0 – Zero penalty. Nigerian Government imposes no fine.
    DAMAGE TO ECOSYSTEM——————Killing fish and wildlife
    CLEAN UP? ————————————-NO! What Exxon Mobil did was to use dangerous chemical dispersant which they never use in US
    CLEAN UP COST——————————-Not applicable because the cost of cheap chemical dispersants were never released.
    PIPELINE STATUS—————————–The damaged section of pipeline has since been replaced

    …………….
    COMMENT
    From the above real data (Which you can confirm by a simple internet search), it is clear that while Exxon mobil pays $1m fine & spends another $135m to clean up the spill in Texas, the same Exxon Mobil (Which Ike Kachukwu once worked for) in a bid to evade cost of proper cleanup, goes ahead to use dangerous chemicals to further pollute rivers in the Niger Delta.

    It is important to note that Dr Ike Kachuku was the Vice President of Exxon Mobil as a legal advisor for the oil company for Africa. He thus supervised the systemic double standards of Exxon Mobil as regards their operation in my Niger Delta……………….Facts like this are what the so called US transparency bill should expose.

  • Tommy Soto

    Hot off the international newswires

    Russia-born dealmaker linked to Trump assists laundering probe

    Felix Sater, who worked on Trump Soho, turns against Kazakh former business partners

    8 HOURS AGO by: Tom Burgis in London

    Donald Trump faces renewed scrutiny of the riches that flowed into his real estate empire from the former Soviet Union after a fixer for a Kazakh family accused of pumping dirty money into US property agreed to assist an international investigation into his former business partners.

    Felix Sater, a Russian-born dealmaker with organised-crime connections who worked on property ventures including Trump Soho in Manhattan, has attracted attention in recent months as efforts continue to chart the links between the US president’s circle and moneymen from Russia and its neighbours.

    https://www.ft .com/content/159eb2d8-6162-11e7-8814-0ac7eb84e5f1

  • Jideofor

    Please no!!!! Stop this bill!!!!!! so now I can no longer loot the small portion of national Treasury I get chei!!!! Mba nu!!!! Igbo man must not be caught if Buhari, Dangote, Atiku,Babangida,Danjuma etc the main looters are not yet prosecuted. Why we must stay in Nigeria fight to get presidency, kill EFCC and institutionalize corruption in the North,South West and South South but prosecute corruption in the South East only. Then we can use Nigeria money as father Christmas for igbos while we rapidly develop South east. Tufiakwa!!!! This bill will not see the light of day am off to the USA with better mega bribe.

    • Peace Forall

      No election in Biafra land for ever and ever until Referendum is conducted.