AML Standards Highest In Offshore Territories
Thursday, September 27, 2012
A new study from the Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith University,
Australia, has confirmed that a number of offshore territories have substantially
stronger safeguards in place to prevent the use of shell companies for anti-money
laundering and terrorism financing purposes than many advanced onshore nations
such as the United Kingdom and the United States.
The report, which assesses the ease of establishing untraceable shell companies
internationally, says that: "Some of the top-ranked countries in the world
are [territories] such as Jersey, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas, while
some developed countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the
United States rank near the bottom of the list."
The report concludes that it is easier to obtain an untraceable shell company
in the United States than in any other country except Kenya.
"Against the conventional policy wisdom, those selling shell companies
from tax havens were significantly more likely to comply with the rules than
providers in OECD countries like the United States and Britain," the report
states. "Another surprise was that providers in poorer, developing countries
were also more compliant with global standards than those in rich, developed
The authors said that a research team had impersonated a variety of low- and
high-risk customers, including would-be money launderers, corrupt officials
and terrorist financiers when requesting the anonymous companies. In total 7,400
emails were sent to more than 3,700 corporate service providers in 182 countries
worldwide. The report found however, that corporate service providers were "significantly
less likely" than other marketers of shell companies to reply to potential
terrorists or to offer anonymous shell companies to customers who are possibly
linked to terror.