USA expands its database of companies

Tens of millions of small American businesses will be required to provide the government with details of their owners and others who profit from them, under a rule finalized Thursday that aims to eliminate the web of ownership that can hide illegally obtained assets.

The Treasury Department reported that it is taking steps to create a database that will contain personal information on the owners of at least 32 million US companies as part of an attempt to combat illicit finance. Treasury officials said the new rule represents a sea change in the world of corporate transparency.

The regulation comes amid persistent attempts by the United States and its allies to sanction Russian oligarchs and wealthy allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin since the start of the Ukraine invasion. Rich Russians are accused of hiding stolen money and assets, both in the United States and around the world. “This rule will make it more difficult for criminals, organized crime gangs, and other illicit actors to hide their identities and launder their money through the financial system,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote in a statement.

“It will help strengthen our national security by making it more difficult for oligarchs, terrorists and other global threats to use complex legal structures to launder money, traffic people and drugs.

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