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WFAA has learned Onalaska is ground zero for a practice that allows foreigners to anonymously register their planes, and one that critics say makes the United States an easy target for drug dealers, terrorists and other criminals seeking to register their planes.
Two of the planes registered to the trust company were named during a federal investigation of a massive drug-smuggling operation, according to federal court records filed in 2013.
In 2006, A U.S. bank became a trustee on an aircraft for a Lebanese politician who turned out to be "backed by a well-known U.S. Government-designated terrorist organization." "It wasn't until the bank found out that they were affiliated with Hezbollah that the relationship ended,"In 2012, an FAA inspector was unable to find out who was flying a Boeing 737 registered on behalf of a foreign owner. When the FAA contacted the foreign owner, officials were told the airplane had been leased to a United Arab Emirates-based rental company. The foreign owner couldn't "p
An aircraft is eligible for U.S. Registration if it is not registered in another country and it is owned by:
An individual who is a United States citizen,
A partnership each of whose partners is an individual who is a U.S. citizen,
A corporation or association:
organized under the laws of the U.S. or a State, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory or possession,
of which the president and at least two-thirds of the board of directors and other managing officers are U.S citizens, and
in which at least 75% of the voting interest is owned or controlled by persons that are U.S. citizens,
An individual citizen of a foreign country lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the U.S.,
A U.S. governmental unit or subdivision
A non-U.S. citizen corporation organized and doing business under the laws of the U.S. or one of the States as long as the aircraft is based and primarily used in the U.S. (60% of all flight hours must be from flights starting and ending within the U.S.)