December 1, 2022

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EU Commission Report: Russia Pulls the Strings of 31,000 EU Companies

New Commission Report
Russians pull strings at 31,000 EU companies

Russian entrepreneurs are still active in the EU via letterbox companies – according to a new survey, 31,000 companies are controlled by Russians. The EU Commission is asking for these assets to be transparent in order to enforce sanctions.

According to the EU Commission, Russian oligarchs and other businessmen are very active in Europe despite all sanctions. According to a new report on money laundering and terrorist financing risks, there are nearly 31,000 companies whose beneficial owners come from Russia. They are mainly active in real estate, construction and hotel sectors as well as finance and energy sectors.

31,000 companies are controlled by Russians and thus the beneficial owners. Civil law owners can also be shell companies, hiding traces to Russia. According to the EU report, at least 1,400 companies have recently authorized owners. Specifically, it is about 33 people.

The EU Commission has called for Russian assets to be transparent. This is necessary if you want to disable them under restrictions. Therefore, the agency calls for better information sharing and “appropriate” disclosure and monitoring of assets being hidden from tax authorities. Setting up letterbox companies is still very easy. It currently moves “hundreds of millions of euros through opaque transactions”.

Oligarchs hide their assets

Shell companies cannot help criminals hide the origin and destination of funds. They can also hide the true beneficiary of the transaction. Some oligarchs may hide their ownership or control of companies through third-country consolidated intermediaries or local nominal shareholders, the EU warns.

Money was used for personal enrichment – or the destabilization of entire nations. “Uncovering the circulation of black money not only contributes to the preservation of democracy and the security of citizens of the EU, but also helps to combat the influence of autocracies,” the Commission says.

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