Shruti J. Shah | Contributing Editor
Shruti J. Shah is a contributing editor of the FCPA Blog.
She’s the President and CEO Coalition for Integrity (formerly Transparency International-USA).
She has led many of the Coalition’s key initiatives, including developing practices to combat corruption and promoting greater transparency and accountability to stem the flow of proceeds of corruption, with a specific focus on reforms in the areas of beneficial ownership transparency and anti- money laundering laws.
Shruti previously worked at both PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG. She has managed investigations of alleged accounting fraud in publicly held companies and assisted companies in designing anti-corruption/FCPA compliance programs.
She’s a CPA (licensed in Colorado), a Chartered Accountant (India), and a Certified Fraud Examiner.
Since my initial post for the FCPA Blog on the Paradise Papers, I have read a lot of arguments against requiring increased transparency of anonymous companies, including a recent post on this blog, so I thought it would be useful to address some of these arguments and present another perspective.
Image courtesy of the ICIJThe massive leak of 13.4 million files, dubbed the “Paradise Papers,” highlights loopholes that exist in the global financial system. The documents also show how easy it is for tax evaders, money launderers, and senior public officials to utilize anonymous companies to hide their identities, their potential conflicts of interest, and their business deals.
An aspect of ISO 37001 that makes it such a big topic is that it is marketed as a standard that can be audited and certified.
Anonymous companies have attracted much attention in the past couple of years, and for good reason. These companies are used to facilitate a number of crimes, including corruption, money laundering and the trafficking of arms, drugs and humans.
Global concerns about corruption are on the rise. This year alone, we have seen massive anti-corruption protests in Slovakia, South Korea, Romania and Russia.
This month is the one year anniversary of the Panama Papers, a leak of 11 million documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm that showed how easy it is for corrupt public officials, money launderers, drug traffickers and other criminals to hide behind anonymous companies and access the global financial system.
You arrive in a new city on a rainy day and check into your top floor hotel room, only to find the roof is leaking.
A lack of information about the people who ultimately own or benefit from legal entities is one of the most pervasive challenges in increasing transparency and fighting against corruption. The U.S. Government oversees a vast network of contractors, and the collection and publication of the beneficial ownership information of such contractors as part of procurement protocol could greatly benefit the level of transparency in government contracting, cut down on government waste, and decrease fraud and corruption.
From 2009 to at least 2013, private individuals were allegedly able to siphon off more than $3.5 billion from the wealth fund of Malaysia and go on a high-end luxury shopping spree in several countries including the United States, the United Kingdom and Switzerland for property, museum-quality art and a private jet.