Scott Michel Comments on the Tracing of Russian Assets in The Hill

The Hill

IRS investigators assigned to a task force targeting Russian oligarchs are using a variety of techniques to identify and freeze sanctioned property, with capabilities that include untangling bundles of cryptocurrency meant to obscure their ownership and following trails of money through anonymous financial structures.

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Thanks in part to its ownership laws, the U.S. currently ranks as the second most financially secretive country in the world, just behind the Cayman Islands and ahead of Switzerland, according to an index maintained by the Tax Justice Network, a Britain-based nonprofit.

 “There’s long been a view that the U.S. has been one of the world’s biggest tax havens because of the ability to stand behind a corporate structure without having to disclose a connection to it,” said Scott Michel, a tax attorney with Caplin & Drysdale.

While Congress last year enacted the Corporate Transparency Act, which increases the reporting requirements for beneficial owners, critics say the legislation doesn’t go far enough.

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