Proposed New York Legislation Could Give Russian Oligarchs No Place To Hide
A new bill introduced in New York would require those purchasing property through a limited liability company to disclose their identity, making it more difficult for Russian oligarchs and other foreign nationals to secretly stash cash in real estate.
The bill, introduced in March by state Sen. Brad Hoylman and Emily Gallagher, a member of the Assembly representing the 50th District, is intended to curb foreign individuals from hiding wealth in U.S. property owned by shell companies. If passed, the bill would require those purchasing property through LLCs to disclose their identity to the state of New York and include information in their tax returns, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reported.
Lawmakers cited the Panama Papers and Pandora Papers, along with reporting from the ICIJ and The New York Times, highlighting how those under sanctions or investigation for money laundering or embezzlement hide wealth in shell companies that snatch up U.S. property, especially in New York.
The bill comes amid U.S. efforts to seize Russian oligarchs' assets as the country's war on Ukraine heightens. The U.S. Treasury is also proposing new regulations that may target oligarchs' property assets. Reporting over the last several years shows Russian oligarchs hold millions of dollars in U.S. real estate. In 2017, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska paid more than $47M for Manhattan property via shell companies, according to Washington Post reporting cited by ICIJ. Ihor Kolomoisky and associates became Cleveland's largest commercial landlords, ICIJ reported in 2020.
“LLC laws have enabled these individuals, whose purchases may have otherwise been scrutinized by international legal or tax authorities, to purchase assets in New York through anonymous and practically untraceable shell corporations,” the legislation says.