Bill That Would Require Greater Disclosure for Shell Companies Faces Uphill Battle

By Brian Orsak

Proposed U.S. legislation that would require greater disclosure of the beneficial owners of shell companies faces tough resistance on Capitol Hill. The bill, introduced last February by U.S. Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, would broadly limit the ability of U.S. companies to operate offshore and domestic accounts through shell organizations in secret. Such organizations can be used for legitimate means but are also used to avoid paying taxes and launder money. The measure-co-sponsored by Sens. Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Barack Obama of Illinois-is necessary for anti-money laundering purposes, but likely will face strong resistance from special interest groups,...