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Is The ABA Defending Money Laundering?

August 26, 2019

That’s the allegation in a post from British lawyer Martin Kenney, managing partner in a firm with “a specialist investigative and asset recovery practice,” based in the British Virgin Islands. He says the American Bar Association has come out against proposed legislation that would make it more difficult for companies’ “Ultimate Beneficial Owners” (UBOs) to hide their identities. (The ABA is not the only group said to be interested in preserving the right of company principals to remain anonymous. A recent New York Times article identified a number of others, including, not surprisingly, the high-end residential real estate industry itself as well as some states – notably the state of Delaware – which derive substantial revenue from their power to accommodate the formation of opaque companies.) Kenney, in his post on the FCPA Blog, says the ABA is objecting on privacy grounds – a concern that he acknowledges is valid – but he adds that instead of obstructing they should be saying they will “step up to the plate and collect, verify and store the information, keeping it secure and private on behalf of their client, until it is requested by a competent authority.”

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