How to Tackle the Shell Companies That Fund Corruption and …

This article first appeared on the Council on Foreign Affairs site.

The Panama Papers leak of eleven million documents in April 2016 revealed that former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, the brother-in-law of Chinese President Xi Jinping, longtime friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, drug kingpins, and even a soccer megastar had something in common: they all channeled money through anonymous shell companies.

Anonymous shell companies are entities that usually employ few or no workers, do not conduct any substantive business, and allow their owners to store or route money while hiding their identities.

Because of the secrecy they can provide, anonymous companies represent an important nexus of corruption, money laundering, transnational organized crime, and terrorism, which directly harm U.S. interests.

As one of the main facilitators of anonymous companies, the United States

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