A shell company or corporation is a limited liability entity having no physical presence in their jurisdiction, no employees and no commercial activity. It is usually formed in a tax haven or secrecy jurisdiction and its main or sole purpose is to insulate the real beneficial owner from taxes, disclosure or both. Shell companies are also referred to as international business companies, personal investment companies, front companies, or "mailbox"/”letterbox” companies.
Why it matters
Governments should establish mandatory, public registers that disclose the beneficial ownership of trust funds and companies. Public registers of beneficial ownership would allow ill-gotten gains to be more easily traced and make it more difficult and less attractive for people to benefit from the proceeds of corruption and crime.
Additional Information: Shell company
- Transparency International, Unmask the Corrupt campaign
- Transparency International, How to set up an offshore company in 10 minutes (blog post, April 2013)
- Transparency International, Shelving the shells (blog post, March 2014)
- Transparency International, Policy brief 02/2014: Ending secrecy to end impunity: Tracing the beneficial owner