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  • For many of us,

  • a typical day involves interactions with hundreds of companies.

  • Buying their goods, using their services,

  • even wearing their names.

  • Corporations and companies

  • have become such a familiar part of the modern landscape

  • that it's easy to forget they're artificial entities

  • created to allow real people to do business.

  • But there are some types of companies

  • that aren't engaged in any business at all.

  • Instead, these anonymous companies

  • exist mainly to disguise people doing things

  • they'd rather not have the public know about.

  • And these people go to great lengths to hide any links between their names

  • and the companies they own.

  • The life of an anonymous company

  • usually begins in what's known as a secrecy jurisdiction,

  • a place whose laws allow new companies to be registered

  • with little disclosure about who owns or controls them.

  • Some may simply not require collecting that information.

  • Others may collect it,

  • but make it nearly inaccessible to anyone else.

  • And the lack of incentive to verify companies' real owners

  • makes it easy for people to cover their tracks.

  • For example, someone may register a company in the name of a relative,

  • an associate,

  • or even a nominee director

  • who acts on instruction from the company's actual owner

  • while keeping their name confidential.

  • Once registered, a company can do many of the same things as a human being,

  • like opening bank accounts,

  • buying and owning assets,

  • and transferring money.

  • What's more, it can be listed as the owner of other companies,

  • including ones opened in places with stricter disclosure rules.

  • This allows someone to create a complex world-wide chain of ownership

  • that can take years to unravel.

  • A company based in the U.S.

  • may be wholly owned by another one in Liechtenstein,

  • which is owned in turn by one in the British Virgin Islands.

  • And an anonymous company can be transferred to a new owner at any time

  • with no public record of the change.

  • So why all the anonymity?

  • Defenders of financial secrecy argue that wealthy individuals need it

  • to avoid intrusive media attention

  • and threats to personal security.

  • But while this may sometimes be justified,

  • anonymous companies play a role in almost every type of economic crime,

  • including many major corruption cases.

  • They are used by corporations evading taxes,

  • rogue governments skirting sanctions,

  • terrorists buying arms,

  • and dictators financing wars.

  • Organized crime groups launder their profits through anonymous companies.

  • Corrupt government officials award valuable contracts

  • to corporations they secretly own.

  • International oligarchs with criminal connections or questionable pasts

  • have used anonymous companies to discretely buy luxury apartments

  • in cities like London and New York City,

  • keeping them as safe stores of wealth.

  • And even when criminals are convicted,

  • their anonymously held assets

  • may be difficult for authorities to locate or seize,

  • making it harder for victims to be compensated.

  • Efforts are now underway to chip away at these crime-enabling mechanisms.

  • International authorities and NGOs

  • have called for requiring companies to state who ultimately makes their decisions

  • and benefits from their assets.

  • But while progress is being made,

  • international cooperation has been difficult to achieve,

  • as governments that profit from registering anonymous companies

  • are reluctant to lose business.

  • And some of the most popular places for this practice

  • are located not on remote, tropical tax shelters,

  • but within the same advanced nations which claim to be leading the fight

  • for global financial transparency.

  • But still, it's a fight worth fighting.

  • Closing the legal loopholes that enable anonymous companies

  • would help us cut down on corruption and illegal activity.

  • It would also allow us, as the general public,

  • to better understand the flow of enormous sums of money

  • that impact politics, our daily lives, and the health of our world.

For many of us,

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TED-Ed】匿名企業を暴露することで犯罪を減らすことができる - Global Witness (【TED-Ed】How exposing anonymous companies could cut down on crime - Global Witness)

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    稲葉白兎 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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