Press release | April 3, 2016

GUESTS AVAILABLE: New Investigations Reveal Massive Role of Shell Companies in Influencing Elections, Tax Evasion, Drug Crime, National Security

CONTACT:  Andy Stepanian, 001.631.291.3010, [email protected]

View a fact sheet on recent Global Witness investigations here.

The recent exposé by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has once again shown the insidious role that tax havens, corporate secrecy and shell companies play in aiding widespread crime, corruption and violence--including influence on U.S. elections.

These exposed shell companies threaten the safety, security and well-being of people around the world. What’s less well known is that, despite stereotypes portraying the problem of tax havens and shell companies as an ‘offshore’ problem, this is a big and homegrown issue in the U.S.

Global Witness, an international organization that is working to expose the impact of shadow businesses and corruption on crime, politics and human rights abuses, has several experts available to talk about these new revelations:

Mark Hays

Mark Hays is Senior Advisor for Global Witness, an international advocacy organization that works to break the links between natural resource exploitation and conflict and corruption. Mark works specifically on Global Witness’ campaign advocating for beneficial ownership transparency in the U.S. and around the world.  For nearly 15 years, Mark has conducted advocacy, research and campaign development for a wide range of environmental and social change organizations, including Oxfam America, The Sierra Club, Public Citizen, Greenpeace, NAACP, and others. His work has helped these organizations develop bold and strategic campaign strategies to engage a wide variety of stakeholders – including business – in transformative environmental and social change efforts.

Eryn Schornick

Eryn is a Policy Advisor on the Banks and Corruption team at Global Witness, an international advocacy organization seeking to expose and break the links between natural resources and corruption, conflict and human rights abuses. Eryn Schornick is a also New York attorney with a focus in international human rights and humanitarian law. Eryn has experience working in the U.S. and abroad on shareholder advocacy, labor rights, supply chain transparency, as well as corporate transparency and accountability.

Stefanie Ostfeld

Stefanie Ostfeld is the Acting Head of Global Witness’ U.S. office. Stefanie develops and delivers effective advocacy campaigns in the U.S. with a focus on exposing the ways in which the global financial system enables corrupt public officials to loot and launder state funds. Based in Washington, DC, she advocates for increased corporate transparency, closing loopholes in anti-money laundering laws, effective enforcement of anti-bribery and anti-money laundering statutes and revenue transparency in the oil, gas and mining sector. Ostfeld’s commentary has appeared in many national publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, CNN, ABC News, al Jazeera, The Hill and Huffington Post. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Denver Josef Korbel School of International Studies

Robert Palmer

Robert Palmer is the Banks and Corruption Campaign Leader for Global Witness. Based on London, he focuses on how the financial system facilitates corruption and other crimes. Robert has led a number of high profile investigations. These include exposing how corrupt Nigerian politicians used British high street banks to move bribe money; uncovering which global banks held $65 billion of Libyan government funds; and organising an undercover sting to show how corrupt officials can move suspect funds into the U.S. with the help of New York lawyers. Robert is an expert in the global anti-money laundering framework and helps to develop practical policy solutions to improve its effectiveness. He helps to lead a global coalition of civil society groups campaigning for an end to the abuse of the financial system by corrupt officials. This has led to new transparency laws in the UK and EU to tackle anonymously owned companies.

For more information, or for interviews with one of the listed Global Witness spokespeople, please contact, Andy Stepanian, 631.291.3010 or by email at [email protected]

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About Global Witness

Global Witness wants a better world — where corruption is challenged and accountability prevails, all can thrive within the planet’s boundaries, and governments act in the public interest.  Many of the world’s worst environmental and human rights abuses are driven by the exploitation of natural resources and corruption in the global political and economic system. Global Witness is campaigning to end this. We carry out hard-hitting investigations, expose the facts, and push for change. We are independent, not-for-profit, and work with partners around the world in our fight for justice.

View a fact sheet on recent Global Witness investigations here



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