Figurehead


The term figurehead is an Italian word composed of the word “testa” which means “head” and “ferro” which means “iron”, so figurehead translates as “iron head”. This word defines that natural or legal person who lends his name or his signature to close a business, assuming responsibility for something that actually belongs to another person. Therefore, the figurehead acts by overlapping another individual, lending his identity to imitate the performance within society of the one he represents, allowing this subject to enjoy the benefits it offers, avoiding legal obligations.

This word can have a negative connotation, since in many cases the figure of the figurehead is often used to carry out certain negotiations illegally or with little transparency. In the world of politics this term is widely used since there are people who hold political or public positions who cannot use their names to carry out certain negotiations since they may violate their obligations as officials, therefore they request the services of someone to serve as a figurehead and thus not be linked to the business, the figurehead only lends his name (in exchange for an agreed amount), since it is really others who receive the profits.

The figure of the figurehead or front man as it is also known, has progressed over time, there are many ways to be part of it. Many people are unaware that just by lending their name or their bank account for a transaction, they are already becoming a figurehead. All the legal responsibilities of the person he is replacing fall on him, even if the business is legal. In the same way, he must respond to justice if the business is connected to drug trafficking crimes, tax evasion, money laundering, etc. The figurehead may not allege ignorance and must be held criminally responsible for what was committed.

It is important that people who are going to be someone’s figurehead know very well what business they are dealing with, since lending their name to carry out any transaction or purchase of something can be a double-edged sword most of the time.