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美国不再姑息那些神秘的豪宅买家

更新时间:2015-4-1 10:00:11 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Treasury Urged to Scrutinize Foreign Real Estate Buyers for Money-Laundering Risk
美国不再姑息那些神秘的豪宅买家

In a broad show of support for increased scrutiny of foreign real estate buyers in the United States, 17 nonprofit organizations on Tuesday urged the Treasury Department to require that the real estate industry verify the identities of buyers and screen them for potential money-laundering risk.

美国加强了对外国房地产买家的审查,这项措施得到了广泛支持,其中有17家非盈利组织于本周二(3月10日——译注)敦促财政部(Treasury Department)下达命令,要求房地产行业验证买家们的身份,以防其涉及潜在洗钱风险。

The request, contained in a letter sent to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, asked for the repeal of a 2002 temporary exemption from provisions of the Patriot Act that had been granted to the real estate industry.

这项要求被写在一封信里,递交给财政部金融犯罪执法网络(Financial Crimes Enforcement Network)。信中提出,应当终止2002年颁布的一项临时豁免权,它豁免了《爱国法案》(Patriot Act)加诸于房地产行业的一些条款。

As signed into law in 2001, the Patriot Act would have required real estate brokers and others involved in real estate closings and settlements to conduct due diligence checks on their customers. After heavy lobbying by the industry, the industry was exempted from the final regulations.

《爱国法案》于2001年签署为法律后,原本要求房产经纪人与其他涉及房产过户与结算的机构,对他们的客户执行一些合法尽职调查工作。但经过大规模的游说后,该行业得以免于执行这些最终细则。

The letter, signed by a coalition of 17 diverse groups including Transparency International, Global Integrity and Global Witness, cited a recent series in The New York Times, Towers of Secrecy, which documented how wealthy international buyers, including politicians and those who have been the targets of government inquiries, had used shell companies to purchase luxury New York condos.

这封由透明国际(Transparency International)、全球廉政(Global Integrity)及全球见证(Global Witness)等17家各类组织联名签署的信件,引用了《纽约时报》最近刊登的一个系列报道《摩天大楼的秘密》(Towers of Secrecy)。该报道详细记录了包括一些政客与政府调查对象在内的国际买家,如何利用空壳公司来购买纽约的豪华共管公寓。

The letter said that The Times articles “demonstrate the lack of due diligence by the real estate industry into buyers’ identities, backgrounds or the source of their funds.”

信中指出,《纽约时报》的这些文章“证明目前房地产业缺少对买家身份、背景或资金来源的合法清查”。

Shruti Shah, a vice president for one of the organizations, Transparency International-USA, said in a telephone interview, “The U.S. should not be providing a red carpet for dirty money.”

17家组织中的美国透明国际(Transparency International-USA)的副总裁施鲁提·沙(Shruti Shah)在电话采访中说,“美国绝不应该为黑钱铺上红毯。”

Responding to the letter, Steve Hudak, a spokesman for the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, said in an emailed statement that the agency agreed with the concerns expressed in the letter, calling potential criminal abuse of the real estate sector a “fundamental priority.”

财政部金融犯罪执法网络(FinCEN)的一名发言人史蒂夫·赫达克(Steve Hudak)在一封电邮声明中,回应了这封信。他说,相关房地产领域中可能存在的违法擅权行为,已经成为“最根本的当务之急”。

Even as the United States has urged other countries to help it crack down on Americans hiding money abroad, recent Justice Department cases and congressional reports have said that foreign money tied to corruption has been found in United States real estate, moved into the country using shell companies.

一方面,美国还在督促其他国家协助打击在海外隐藏资金的美国人;另一方面,近期司法部的案件和国会报告都纷纷指出,在美国房地产行业里已发现了涉及腐败的海外资金,它们是利用一些空壳公司进入美国的。

The letter, for example, cited a 2010 report by the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations which showed how corrupt foreign officials and their associates had undermined anti-money-laundering controls, using ill-gotten money to purchase real estate in the United States.

例如,这封信中引述了2010年由“美国参议院常务调查委员会”(United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee)公布的一份报告,说明外国的一些腐败官员及其相关人员,是如何突破了那些反洗钱的控制措施,利用非法获取的钱财来购买美国房地产的。

The real estate industry has said it adheres to its own voluntary guidelines in performing background checks on purchasers. In the series, which focused on condominium purchases overlooking Central Park at the Time Warner Center, The Times quoted several people involved in luxury real estate transactions who acknowledged performing few background checks on buyers beyond determining their financial wherewithal to purchase luxury condos worth tens of millions of dollars.

房地产业界称,在对买家进行背景清查方面他们遵从的是自愿原则。上述《纽约时报》系列报道,聚焦的是一些豪华共管公寓的购买活动,那些公寓位于时代华纳中心(the Time Warner Center),可以俯瞰中央公园。报道中引述了几名经手这些豪华地产交易的人的言论,他们承认,对于动辄数千万美元的豪华共管公寓购买活动,他们只会去了解买家必须具备的资金条件,而很少对买家执行超出该范围的背景核查。

More than half the time, the condos are purchased under the names of limited liability companies that mask the identities of the true owners. Current law in a number of states, as well as offshore jurisdictions, does not require disclosure of the identities of the beneficial owners of these entities.

大部分时候,这些共管公寓以某些有限责任公司的名义购买,而这些公司就掩饰了业主真正的身份。在美国的几个州及一些离岸司法管辖区内,现行法律并没有要求披露这些实体的受益人。

The letter also asked for the strengthening of rules proposed in August 2014 requiring banks and other financial institutions to increase scrutiny of “legal entity customers” which include these limited liability companies.

这封信还要求强化2014年8月出台的一些法规,也就是要求银行与其他金融单位加强对这些“法人实体客户”的审查,包括上述一些有限责任公司。

In its statement, FinCEN said the agency was “currently engaged in a rule-making to require banks and other financial institutions to collect beneficial ownership information to help address the misuse of legal entities in the financial sector as a whole.”

FinCEN在其电邮声明中称,该机构“正致力于拟定一项法规,要求银行与其他金融机构收集受益人身份的相关信息,以帮助他们找到在该金融领域整体中存在的滥用法人实体的行为。”

As for imposing Patriot Act requirements on the real estate sector, the agency said, “We also continue to explore which requirements imposed on which actors in the real estate sector will best add to transparency beyond what can be obtained via existing and proposed requirements on other financial institutions, and via traditional law enforcement methods.”

至于在房地产领域强制实行《爱国法案》的要求,该机构称,“我们也在继续探索,看看把哪些要求强制实行于房地产领域的哪些行为者,可以最有效地增加透明度,来深化目前通过针对其他金融机构的现有或拟定的要求以及一些传统执法措施而获得的成果。”

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