Wyden Seeks Treasury Data on Companies in Panama Papers

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By Aaron E. Lorenzo

Oct. 19 — Tax evasion issues brought to light by the Panama Papers are still gnawing at Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

The Senate Finance Committee’s ranking member wants information on tax liabilities at shell companies exposed earlier this year in the leaked documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co., according to a Oct. 19 letter he sent to Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen.

Wyden’s concerns center on the thousands of shell companies linked to the Panama Papers and their connection to financial crimes.

“I am writing to request information about the Treasury Department’s efforts to combat tax abuse by anonymous shell companies,” Wyden wrote.

Identification

He asked how many companies have federal employer identification numbers, how many companies or individuals have had tax liabilities over the past three years and other questions related to material submitted to Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Wyden also pressed for information on whether companies were reviewed by a Nevada task force on corporate ownership fraud.

“It is critical to determine whether our government has the right tools to discern legitimate businesses from criminal enterprises, and to identify what additional measures might be needed to fight financial crime,” Wyden wrote.

Investigation

He has been pressing against tax evasion in a series of letters to government officials all year.

In April, Wyden opened an investigation into tax evasion tied to the Panama Papers, a cache of millions of documents on offshore entities, which were distributed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron E. Lorenzo in Washington at aaron@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Meg Shreve at mshreve@bna.com

For More Information

Text of Wyden’s letter is at http://src.bna.com/jtZ.

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