U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday he would work to eliminate the need for offshore tax havens, as Democratic senators accused the Wall Street veteran of using such vehicles to shelter hedge fund money from the government.

In a confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, President-elect Donald Trump's pick to lead the Treasury was attacked for failing to promptly disclose he was a director of an offshore business vehicle domiciled in the Cayman Islands and owned more than $100 million in real estate.

"One does not go and create offshore entities at the end of the day other than to avoid, in some form or fashion, the tax laws of the United States. That's pretty simple," New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez said.

"We have to decide whether that's necessarily the essence of what we want as leadership," Menendez said.

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