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US makes transparency commitment with more than 20 nations to fight corruption

The US made a transparency commitment with more than 20 nations to fight corruption, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced Tuesday.

Yellen came together at the Summit for Democracy this week with a number of leaders from government, civil society and international organizations to discuss “efforts to counter corruption and illicit finance in order to uphold the rule of law, promote good governance, and ensure an equal economic playing field,” according to the Treasury Department.

The commitment requires countries to improve the transparency of legal persons, like shell companies, and prevent their misuse, it said.

“Unmasking shell corporations is the single most significant thing we can do to make our financial system inhospitable to corrupt actors,” said Yellen. “The beneficial ownership database will deter dirty money from entering the U.S. —and give law enforcement and other partners the tools they need to follow the money when it does.”

Yellen argued that the database must also ensure that firms, some of which are small businesses, understand their obligations.

The Treasury head also noted that her agency is working on addressing some vulnerabilities in its anti-money laundering infrastructure.

“We’re putting a particular focus on excluding corrupt actors from investing in, profiting from, and laundering money through investment firms as well as through purchases of U.S. real estate,” she added.

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