Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) renewed requirements for title insurance companies to identify the real owners behind shell companies in six major metropolitan areas.
Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) renewed requirements for title insurance companies to identify the real owners behind shell companies in six major metropolitan areas. These “Geographic Targeting Orders” started in 2016 and preliminary reporting found that 30% of buyers were involved in suspicious activity. Watchdog groups like Jubilee USA are concerned that real estate purchases in places like New York and Miami are ways for corrupt officials to launder money.
“It's good news that Treasury is renewing these reporting requirements. Luxury real estate transactions can be used to launder money stolen from developing economies,” explained Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA. "Not only can unchecked real estate purchases support corruption and tax evasion, they also drive up real estate values that leave little room for affordable housing.”
FinCEN's order applies to New York City, Los Angeles, San Diego and the Miami, San Francisco and San Antonio metropolitan areas. According to a recent report from the research organization Global Financial Integrity, developing countries lose more to corruption and tax evasion than they receive in loans, aid and other sources combined. Last year's "Panama Papers" leak revealed how shell companies can facilitate corruption and tax evasion.
“Improving global transparency is essential to solving global poverty,” stated LeCompte who serves on United Nations expert groups that focus on the financial system.
Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations and 650 faith communities working with 50 Jubilee global partners. Jubilee USA builds an economy that serves, protects and promotes the participation of the most vulnerable. Jubilee USA wins critical global financial reforms and won more than $130 billion in debt relief to benefit the world's poorest people. www.jubileeusa.org