Russia seeks to unveil offshore ownership of key companies
MOSCOW, March 12 - RAPSI. The Russian government is in the process of drafting a bill that would force the owners of offshore companies to reveal their identities if their companies own objects or entities key to Russian infrastructure, security, and defense, the Vedomosti newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The owners of objects and entities key to Russian infrastructure, security, and defense presently registered abroad will have to either re-register in Russia or disclose their beneficial owner, according to a source who reportedly participated in a March 7 government meeting chaired by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and another official from the Economic Development Ministry.
A source who reportedly attended a March 7 government meeting on the issue said that the law should be amended to prevent unknown individuals from owning strategic objects. He added that foreigners will be able to own relevant objects and entities through Russian legal entities, while Russian citizens will have to disclose ownership information.
The ministry official confirmed that efforts have been launched to "de-offshore" the Russian economy. Both individuals declined to say which laws will be amended and when this will occur.
A heated debate surrounding the offshore ownership of strategic objects and entities ensued after a terrorist attack in Moscow's Domodedovo Airport in 2011. On January 24, 2011, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in the international arrivals hall of Domodedovo Airport, killing 37 people and injuring 172. In the aftermath, it became clear that the airport's beneficial owner could not be determined.
Vedemosti's source noted that then-President Medvedev issued an order after the terrorist attack in January 2011 to determine the airport's real owner. However, this could not be accomplished due to loopholes in the legislation, he said.
Meanwhile, a government official has said there will not be "a separate law for Domodedovo, but there will be a list of objects that must be registered in Russia."
Natalya Timakova, Medvedev's press secretary, refused to comment on the issue.
Also the Finance Ministry has proposed that the government request information regarding Russian founders and beneficiary corporations, trust companies and funds from tax-haven countries, the Finmarket news agency reported.
A federal official confirmed this information in a conversation with Vedomosti.