Expert discussion on the problem of beneficial ownership in shell companies

The Financier World magazine has published interviews with three experts asking how they tackle the problem of beneficial ownership in shell companies.

The magazine interviewed David Sowden, Tom Townson and James Pomeroy, all of whom work for Grant Thornton, one of the world’s largest professional services firms.

Growing motivation

Townson says that the motivation to curb the illicit activities of shell companies is growing.

“A number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), such as Transparency International and Global Witness, and investigative journalists have made it their business to make transparent what has previously been a murky subject,” he says.

“Fuelled by data provided by whistleblowers and a desire by legislators to create environments that are hostile to illicit funds, NGOs have successfully moved the debate to a place where the activity of shell companies is, and will continue to be, subject to greater scrutiny than ever before,” Townson concludes.

Sophisticated structures

Despite tougher disclosure requirements, Pomeroy says shell companies will remain in use for those determined to channel illicit funds.

“Fraudsters, money launderers and corrupt actors have been forced to become more creative using extensive layering of multiple shell companies, using multiple jurisdictions and shifting their structures to territories that have been less willing or able to clamp down,” he says.

The Financier World interviews with Grant Thornton’s experts can be found here.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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