Aug 10 2011

Will Reuters have helped get egregious Wyoming law changed?

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

I’m delighted to see Wyoming news (hat tip: GFI) reporting this:

Wyoming lawmakers are considering new legislation to crack down on fraudulent businesses in the state. . . .  Secretary of State Max Maxfield, who will present three bill proposals to legislators during the Aug. 15 meeting, said this is part of the state’s ongoing effort to be stricter on illegitimate companies.

One of the most significant changes would be a new state statute banning “nominee” officers and directors. These titles can be used by fraudulent “shell” companies or others to hide the company’s real corporate officers and to help the operators avoid responsibility for the company’s actions.

This follows some excellent recent digging by Reuters on the subject. Of course Wyoming lawyers don’t want to be seen to have been caught with their pants down, and reacting to external criticism:

“Maxfield said the proposed legislation is in “no way” a response to a recent Reuters report that led to increased public scrutiny of the state’s policies.”

Yeah, right. They say they’ve been working on this since 2007, and suddenly, four years later, immediately after the Reuters story, decided to act. Funny, that.

Scrutiny works. I am so delighted to see the world’s biggest media organisations starting to wake up to the threat from offshore. (Here‘s another example of a smallish but significant one-man transparency campaign which got major results; hopefully here’s another on the way.)

With the light of day applied to this kind of stuff, real change will come.

Leave a comment