The bill was signed in September by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that requires information on all owners, managers, and agents involved with an LLC, used in many real estate transactions. The law went into effect immediately with the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative calling the law “bad news for kleptocrats hoarding their wealth in Manhattan penthouses.”
However, concerning the LLC ownership information, it is unclear whether it will be made open for the public. A co-sponsor of the legislation said the information would be available via the Freedom of Information Act, but some real estate lawyers believe that those who are named in LLC deals will block the attempts to make the information public in court.
The legislation has been put in place as over the past five years various reports show that buyers from Russia and other former Soviet republics have spent large amounts, estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars, on New York Luxury properties specifically in Manhattan.
One investigation from the New York Times revealed that in one high rise building various buyers from Eurasia were the beneficial owners of 20 apartments with a collective value of over $200 million, the majority of purchases involved LLCs.
Journalist Leonid Ragozin comments in a tweet that the legislation is a “step forward” but he went on to say that much more needs to be done to prevent Eurasia money laundering in the US. The government has pressured some small nations to make banking more transparent but the same interest and pressure of transparency have not been implemented in addressing domestic mechanisms that enable money laundering, especially “such financial black holes as the state of Delaware.”