New law cracks down on shell companies to combat corruption

MIAMI (AP) — A watershed reform of U.S. money laundering laws could allow investigators to uncover the proceeds of foreign bribery, drug trafficking and terrorism in just a few keystrokes. The new law quietly passed by Congress last month after a decade-long fight for the first time requires shell companies to provide the names of their owners at risk of stiff penalties and jail time. The information will be stored in a confidential database accessible to federal law enforcement and shared with banks who are often unwitting accomplices to international corruption. The Corporate Transparency Act also dramatically expands awards for whistleblowers.