Bank Reference Letters Being Treated as Suspicious Transactions
Executive Summary - It has come to our attention that the USA is starting to treat "Bank Reference Letters" as "Suspicious Transaction" events that require reporting to the USA government. We highly suspect many other governments are doing the same thing with their banks when a reference letter is requested. Many clients have noticed in recent months that many banks are reluctant to issue a bank reference letter and many banks outright refuse to write a reference letter. The banks are refusing to issue reference letters because they would then have to write a suspicious transaction report and they try to minimize the amount of these that they generate to avoid government audits and investigations. Panama banks all require a bank reference letter even if you are opening the account in person. This is the case with almost all the banks around the world. Do not do this. We can assist with opening a bank account where a bank reference letter is not required.
Apostille - The next alarm bell concerns getting documents apostilled. An apostille is a government worker who certifies notarized documents. Basically they are there to certify the fact that the notary is in fact a notary. In many countries the apostille works for the national government. In the USA the apostilles work for the various state agencies, generally found in the Department of State that each of the states has. Many offshore banks ask their new account applicants to notarize and then apostille documents like passports. Panama banks all require this unless you open the account in person.
Recently the apostilles in the USA are starting to ask the people to fill out a form explaining what the apostille is to be used for. This is similar to the bank reference letter in that it is probably being reported whenever anyone wants a copy of a passport to be apostilled. Do not get any ID documents or anything else you want to keep private apostilled. Notarized only. So far we have not been seeing any notaries report any suspicious events or even ask what the notarized document is to be used for. Do not use a notary at a bank, credit union, savings and loan, or a stockbroker's office. These are tightly regulated businesses that are required by law to report any and all suspicious transactions. No apostilles is the safest course of action.
Implications - It is a common practice for the offshore banks around the world to require a bank reference letter when opening a new account be it a corporation, trust or a personal account for a foreigner. It would be rare for a country to require a bank reference letter for citizens of their own country. Bank reference letters are required when opening a bank account in another country. It is the early warning flag to the government about an offshore account being opened. Opening bank accounts requiring a bank reference letter are now ill advised. Under no circumstances should one obtain a bank reference letter. We can arrange bank accounts that do not require such a bank reference letter in a few select banks located in tax havens with bank secrecy.
We can also arrange "International Trust Account" banking in quality banks in tax havens with bank secrecy where the bank does not know who you are. For more information on this click here.
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