How “shell” companies launder dirty money

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September 8, 2016

Cocaine is big business in Europe these days, according to experts with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Boatloads of blow float across the Atlantic Ocean from South America, only to float back as illicit money, which finds its way to states such as Delaware.  But whose pockets does the cash end up in? That’s an investigative dead-end.

“When I worked at the U.S. Treasury’s FinCEN (which combats money laundering), we used to get requests from many countries regarding drug cases where the trail went to Delaware,” said former Special Agent John Cassara. “It was impossible to follow the paper trails in those cases.”  Why is that? “Delaware and other havens in the U.S. do not have beneficial ownership information,” he said.