ABA resisting US beneficial ownership legislation, UK registry flawed

The managing partner of solicitors Martin Kenney & Co, who is focused on multi-jurisdictional fraud and grand corruption cases says the American Bar Association (ABA) is apparently putting up a fight against proposed US legislation for greater disclosure of beneficial ownership that would help prevent money laundering and a host of other crimes.

Martin Kenney, who is based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), also argues that the UK’s register of beneficial ownership at Companies House is substantially flawed because it allows so much unverified information to be entered into the records.

US resistance

The proposed US legislation that concerns Kenney would require companies to disclose their ultimate beneficial owners. The legislation is currently in front of Congress.

Kenny points out that in some quarters, commentators appear to readily accept that the proposed legislation would “make it much harder” for criminals to hide their illicit assets in shell companies, yet some lawyers are raising objections to the legislation for this reason.

UK registry criticised

The BVI-based lawyer is also critical of the UK’s much vaunted Companies House public register that is often singled out as an exemplary example of a transparent register of beneficial ownership.

Kenny disagrees with this point of view. “The UK’s Companies House register may be public, but it is also seriously flawed. The information it holds is not verified, which means that in the context of crime prevention, it is effectively useless,” he says.

“The crooks have fed all manner of lies into the system unabated,” he concludes.

Martin Kenny’s article, ABA resisting law to prevent money laundering? can be found here.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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