July 20, 2017

More on that 8th guy at the Trump Tower meeting

As Politico reported, "The eighth attendee at a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between top Trump associates and a politically connected Russian lawyer is a business associate of a top Moscow oligarch and was once the focus of a congressional money-laundering probe."

Former Senator Carl Levin -In 2000, as Senior Democrat on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, I was looking into how foreign persons established US corporations with hidden ownership as a way to launder money through U.S. banks. Many states in the U.S., Delaware being a popular one, allow individuals to set up corporations without revealing the true owner. This allows individuals to set up shell companies -- companies that can function as a vehicle through which they can anonymously pass money and which can readily be used to launder ill-gotten gains.

I asked GAO to review shell corporations and how their bank accounts are set up. GAO came across the numerous corporations and bank accounts established by Irakly Kaveladze on behalf of people in Russia. As GAO reported, Kaveladze established some 2000 U.S. corporations and bank accounts for a number of them. The owners of those accounts then moved some $1.4 billion through those accounts. Kaveladze claimed he did all this without knowing for whom he was doing it. Based on the example of Kaveladze, who was in a sense the poster child of this practice, and other examples we uncovered over the years, we've been trying for decades to end the hidden ownership of American corporations. This has been a bipartisan effort, and there continues to be proposed legislation in Congress to do just that with the very strong support of the law enforcement community and the banks.

Kaveladze's conduct also helped us reinvigorate the requirement that banks know the true owner of their accounts, a policy that hadn’t been enforced over the years. It has recently been required by regulation.

No comments: