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The Daily

New Rules Will Make Banks ID Shell Corporation Owners

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Apr 7, 2016
ShellGameNew rules about to be released by the Treasury Department will make it harder to use shell corporations to remain anonymous, according to The New York Times. The new rules come amid the recent discovery of thousands of shell corporations set up by a Panamanian law firm linked to a variety of high-profile figures, from world leaders to business magnates to Hollywood celebrities. The regulations, which will come from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, will strengthen already-existing 'know your customer' rules. While currently banks are required to know the identity of people who open accounts in the U.S., these requirements do not extend to the owners of shell companies that set up accounts. 

Under the new rules, banks will need to find out the identities of any individual who owns 25 percent or more of a corporate entity that opens bank accounts, as well as any individuals exercising control over those entities, according to the Times.

It is similar to another Treasury program implemented in January that requires title insurance companies to record and report the beneficial ownership information of legal entities purchasing certain high-value residential real estate without external financing. The program was implemented in response to concerns that people were using shell corporations to buy real estate as a way to launder money. 

While there is not yet a specific date the Times said the government is "close" to releasing the new rules.