Panama Papers and Ultimate Beneficial Ownership: One Year On

Over a year has passed since the publication of the Panama Papers, an unprecedented data leak of 11.5 million documents that revealed the secret financial dealings of over 214,488 offshore entities. This high-profile leak ultimately brought to the fore the
lack of transparency surrounding shell companies. The records revealed the multitude of ways in which numerous legal structures and corporate vehicles can be used to obscure the ownership of a legal entity for a myriad of tax and financial crimes such as tax
evasion, money laundering, terrorism financing and arms trafficking. In the wake of these revelations, the global regulatory landscape has undergone significant reform to strengthen and enhance existing beneficial ownership requirements over several regulatory
frameworks, which we will examine in detail.

The Challenge of UBO Identification

Improving the transparency of company ownership and control has always been a key element in Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the

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