10 Apr 2006

American Samoa to stop foreigners using locals as fronts for businesses

8:11 pm on 10 April 2006

American Samoans " fronting" as owners of businesses that are actually financed and operated by foreigners will be harder to camouflage under a planned new business licencing law.

The Governor Togiola Tulafono says the new law would define the practice of fronting and would specify the responsibilities of the business owner and actual operator of the business.

The proposed legislation would also impose obligations that business owners must meet.

The visible Asian involvement in businesses that used to be operated by locals has led to concerns that millions of dollars are being funnelled out of the territory each year.

Investigations by the General Accounting Office have found very few business licences are in the name of foreign owners, with most having American Samoans listed as the business owner and operator.

It was revealed that the locals were fronts and the businesses were financed and run by Asians.