The US has been a haven for financial criminals because its laws allowed for the creation of shell corporations that do not have to reveal their owners, often with less information than the local library would demand before lending a book.

Illicit gains from criminal enterprise effectively disappear when transferred to these corporations.

But thanks to lobbying by a coalition of human rights activists and law enforcement agencies, anonymous companies can no longer be formed in the US. Lawmakers included the text of the Corporate Transparency Act inside the mammoth US defense policy bill enacted over president Donald Trump’s veto on Jan. 1.