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Offshore shell companies, the black hole of global finance

An activist performs as a client of an offshore company during a protest by 'Oxfam' and 'Transparency International' in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, on April 12, 2016Anonymously owned shell companies, against which the G20 economic powers pledged action Friday, amount to a global black hole that legally puts trillions of dollars out of tax authorities’ reach. The documents show how thousands and thousands of the mailbox business fronts exist worldwide, most often in tax havens like Panama, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands, enabling untraceable owners to stash assets, legal or illegal, offshore. Often encased by other shell entities like Russian nesting dolls, their existence represents a gaping hole in the international effort to combat tax evasion launched in 2009, which forced banks around the world to share account holders’ data with their home tax agencies.

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