While the precise magnitude and consequences of illicit financial flows in African countries — and throughout the developing world — deserve further analysis, it is clear that such flows are wreaking havoc on the continent. Any sustainable approach to global development has to curtail illicit flows and the mechanisms facilitating them. Only then will we be able to mobilize domestic resources for long-term development.
Follows Prime Minister’s Move to Create Public Registry of Beneficial Ownership for All UK Companies
Pressure Continues to Rise on U.S. Government to Follow Suit
WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) lauded UK Prime Minister David Cameron today for urging all British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies in a letter today to crack down on the abuse of anonymous shell companies by creating public registries of meaningful beneficial ownership information. The letter follows recent moves by the UK Government, which is currently in the process of creating the world’s first such public registry to do the same.
European Vote Increases Pressure on White House & Congress to Move
Full EU Parliament Endorses Creation of Public Registries of Beneficial Ownership Information; Follows Earlier Committee Votes
European Council Should Endorse Move to Curb Phantom Firms in Negotiations with Parliament
WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) praised the full European Parliament for voting today to crack down on anonymous shell companies, a major conduit for laundering the proceeds of crime, corruption, and tax evasion.
Following similar votes by two committees of the EU Parliament last month, the full legislative body voted today in favor of requiring public registries of beneficial ownership information for companies incorporated in the EU, as part of its revisions to the EU’s Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD).
WASHINGTON, DC – As the world commemorates International Anti-Corruption Day on Monday, December 9, 2013, Global Financial Integrity (GFI)—a Washington-based, non-profit research and advocacy organization—reviewed many of the most notable achievements, developments, and shortcomings in fighting corruption and illicit financial flows for 2013.
“2013 has proven to be a landmark year in terms of policy advancements to curtail corruption and illicit financial flows,” said GFI President Raymond Baker, a longtime authority on financial crime. “Years of hard work by policymakers, researchers, and advocates culminated in real, on-the-ground policy achievements that will directly impact the amount of money leaving developing countries. We saw a few setbacks, but overall the year was very encouraging.”
New UK Public Registries to Become the Gold Standard to Combat Illicit Financial Flows
President Obama Ought Follow Cameron’s Leadership
WASHINGTON DC – Prime Minister David Cameron announced today that the United Kingdom plans to create a central public registry of corporate beneficial ownership information, and called on other countries to join the United Kingdom by establishing their own public registries.
Heather Lowe, Director of Government Affairs at Global Financial Integrity, praised the historic move, “David Cameron is proving to be the true global leader on tackling the kind of financial opacity that has stymied growth in developed and developing nations alike. Today’s announcement that the United Kingdom will not only be the first nation to collect information on who owns and controls the companies created in the UK, but that the information will be available to the public is truly groundbreaking.”
Leading Finance Ministers Offer Support to Developing Countries in Employing “New, Global Standard,” Eliciting Praise from Civil Society
GFI Disappointed in G20 Failure to Embrace Country-by-Country Reporting or Incorporation Transparency
WASHINGTON, DC – Over the weekend, the G20 finance ministers echoed the call by the G8 countries at Lough Erne to rapidly move to a system of automatic exchange of tax information, a move praised by Global Financial Integrity (GFI) as essential to cracking down on international tax evasion. As with the G8, the G20 finance ministers offered to provide support to poorer countries as they move to adopt the “new, global standard,” likewise eliciting support from GFI. However, the Washington-DC based research and advocacy organization expressed disappointment in the G20’s failure to embrace tax transparency for multinational corporations and the finance ministers’ reticence to meaningfully address the issue of phantom firms.
Five years after the financial crisis hit, the G8 finally seems to be serious about addressing the issue of financial opacity and illicit outflows. During a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, UK Prime Minister and current G8 Chair David Cameron outlined his agenda for the Lough Eurne Summit to focus on a special blend of ‘T’: trade, tax, and transparency. He has called for “a more serious debate” on tax compliance and fairness, including the topics of automatic exchange of tax information and abusive tax avoidance. His transparency plan weaves strands of beneficial ownership disclosure and country-by-country reporting to his “golden thread” for development. The trade outline has a similar focus on openness, but it needs some direction.
Despite Acknowledging Dangers of Phantom Firms, Obama Administration & G8 Fail to Endorse Public Corporate Ownership Registries
G8 Leaders Allow Multinationals to Continue Aggressive Tax Avoidance in the Dark
World Leaders Endorse Global Automatic Exchange of Tax Information, Transparency in Extractive Industries at Lough Erne Summit
WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) welcomed the statements from G8 leaders today reiterating the significant progress that has been made to crack down on international tax evasion and supporting a global standard of automatic tax information exchange, but the research and advocacy organization expressed disappointment in the White House and world leaders for failing to fully address the need for transparency in multinational companies’ basic financial reporting and in corporate ownership.