U.S. to demand banks identify shell-company owners

Condo ownership in the Time Warner Center, whose two lighted towers are at center, reflects the dual trends of increasing foreign money in high-end real estate and the rising use of shell companies. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

The U.S. plans to require banks to seek to identify the owners of shell-company accounts. The Treasury Department has been working on the rule for years, but is pushing to send it to the White House for review in response to the Panama Papers scandal. The rule would be the latest U.S. step to close loopholes sheltering wealthy and powerful people looking to hide wealth offshore. The U.S. and other governments are investigating the 11.5 million Panama Papers documents leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossak Fonseca, one of the largest incorporators of shell companies.

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