LOS ANGELES, April 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The disclosure of documents of the Mossack Fonseca law firm has broad implications for law firms, according to Henry Kupperman, General Counsel of Applied Facts, a leading international investigative and compliance consulting firm. "The Panama papers shed new light on the role of lawyers in establishing and facilitating off-shore companies. While such companies can serve legitimate purposes, these new disclosures demonstrate how money is laundered and how, in some cases, lawyers may unwittingly help structure an improper transaction," Kupperman notes. "We expect this will put new pressure on lawyers involved in structuring off-shore companies to properly vet their clients and know who is behind the transaction and how they will benefit. Moreover, we expect that the banks that deal with such lawyers are going to require that their lawyers properly vet their clients."
Yesterday, for instance, the UK bank regulators asked 20 financial institutions to identify if they have ties to Mossack Fonseca. "We expect U.S. bank regulators to make similar requests of U.S. banks and that ultimately banks will require law firms to properly vet their clients." This will be furthered enhanced as the U.S. Treasury Department announced this week new regulations requiring financial institutions to know the beneficial owners of their business entity clients. Kupperman cautions, "While many lawyers may have long term relationships with banks to which they steer their clients, going forward we don't expect banks to find those relationships sufficient to accept a customer absent proper client vetting by the law firm."
Mr. Kupperman, is a former litigator and now General Counsel of Applied Facts, a leading international investigations firm that specializing in money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act investigations. Previously, he served on occasion as Special Outside Counsel to the California Superintendent of Banks.
Mr. Kupperman can be reached at Applied Facts, located at 901 Corporate Center Drive, Monterey Park, CA 91754, Tel. No. (213) 892-8700.
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SOURCE Applied Facts