G20 countries must follow through on their anti-corruption commitments by boosting financial transparency across borders and creating an environment which enables civil society to combat corruption, Transparency International said today.
To deliver on their commitment to tackle financial crime, G20 leaders should agree to make all companies publicly register the names of their real, beneficial owners.
“The world’s richest countries need to stop anonymous companies from being used to mask criminal activity and to require company registers to collect information on the real owners of all companies. There should be no safe havens for the proceeds of corruption,” said Huguette Labelle, chair of Transparency International.
G20 leaders, meeting 5-6 September in St. Petersburg, must also endorse the work of a vibrant civil society by ensuring the voice of the people is heard loudly and clearly by government and citizens alike.
Civil society organisations can identify, monitor and tackle corruption as well as hold government and business accountable. Civil society needs to be free from restrictive legislation like that in Russia which limits and threatens efforts to meet the G20’s human rights and anti-corruption goals.
The Group of 20 leading economies was created in 2008 to coordinate a global response to the economic crisis. At the Seoul Summit in November 2010, G20 leaders agreed to an Anti-Corruption Action Plan and set up an anti-corruption working group. The plan, and the mandate of the working-group, was renewed in November 2012 for another two years.
The Anti-Corruption Working Group is essential to continuing important work on a wide range of issues including strong sanctions against those who provide false or misleading information to company registers.
If more is not done, the consequences are significant. The profits of crimes like bribery are often laundered through subsidiaries and shell companies that can be set up in minutes.
G20 governments also must ensure banks are serious and effective in conducting enhanced anti-money laundering due diligence checks on politically exposed clients.
G20 governments can build further momentum by encouraging more countries to join the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information and the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, and support the automatic exchange of financial information.
Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.