Global Financial Integrity

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UNGASS 2021: COMMIT TO TRANSPARENCY IN COMPANY OWNERSHIP FOR THE COMMON GOOD

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The UN General Assembly’s decision to hold a Special Session against Corruption in 2021 created a historic opportunity for the international community to address the global crisis of corruption.

The undersigned groups and individuals are united in the conviction that it is of the utmost urgency for the UNGASS 2021 to put an end to the abuse of anonymous companies and other legal vehicles that facilitate cross-border corruption and other crimes. We are calling on the UNGASS 2021 to commit to making centralised, public beneficial ownership registers a global standard.

Companies that exist only on paper, exploiting our legal systems and concealing their ultimate ownership, are tools for the diversion of critical resources needed to advance sustainable development and collective security.

For decades, as scandal after scandal has demonstrated, anonymous shell companies have been used to divert public funds, channel bribes and conceal ill-gotten gains, as part of corruption and money laundering schemes stretching across borders.

Beneficial ownership information – information on the natural persons who ultimately own, control or benefit from a legal vehicle – enables cross-border enforcement and the tracing of ill-gotten assets for confiscation and return. In public contracting processes, it helps in the detection of conflicts of interest and corruption. It also makes it easier for businesses to carry out due diligence, helps them know who their partners and customers are and meet reporting obligations.

A central, public register of companies and their ultimate beneficial owners – in addition to information on legal ownership and directors – is the most effective and practical way to record such information and facilitate timely access for all stakeholders.

We have come together to address government leaders currently preparing for UNGASS 2021 with one voice and one clear message: The “concise and action-oriented political declaration” to be adopted by the General Assembly should commit all countries to establish central, public registers of beneficial ownership as the new global standard. This should be supplemented with efforts to verify the collected information in order to ensure the accuracy and reliability of beneficial ownership data.

Transparency in company ownership is more than a technical solution to a problem. It is a matter of social justice.

Corruption devastates the lives of billions of people around the world, while its deadliness has become all the more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis. With only ten years left to achieve the 2030 Agenda targets, we need decisive reforms to ensure that the resources needed to pay for critical public services such as schools and hospitals are not simply misappropriated and hidden away in tax havens or property markets abroad. Centralised, public registers of beneficial ownership as a global standard is precisely that kind of change.

The time for action is now.

 

Signatories

Civil society & non-profit groups

Access Info Europe

Accountability Lab

Africa Centre for Energy Policy

Africa Centre for Open governance (AfriCOG)

Africa Freedom of Information Centre

AfroLeadership

Anti-Corruption Data Collective

Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa

Article 19

Basel Institute on Governance

BHP Foundation

Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)

Centre for Law and Democracy

Civil Forum for Asset Recovery (CiFAR)

Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS)

Development Gateway

Directorio Legislativo

East African Community Youth Ambassadors Platform

Footprints Africa

Global Financial Integrity

Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)

Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime

Global Integrity

Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC)

Global Policy Forum

Global Witness

Government Transparency Institute

Human Rights Watch

Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries (HIVOS)

International Lawyers Project

International Trade Union Confederation

Latindad

mySociety

Natural Resource Governance Institute

ONE Campaign

Open Contracting Partnership

Open Corporates

Open Data Charter

Open Ownership

Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)

Oxfam

Partnership for Transparency Fund

Publish What You Pay

Results for Development (R4D)

Shadow World Investigations

Tax Justice Network

Tax Justice Network Africa

Technologies for Accountability Foundation

The B Team

The Sentry

Trade Union Advisory Council to the OECD

Transparency International

Transparency International EU

Transparency, Accountability & Participation (TAP) Network

UNCAC Coalition

Water Integrity Network

Wildlife Justice Commission

World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Transparency & Anti-Corruption

Angelika Prokop-Grey, Anti-corruption, compliance & ethics expert, Poland

Bruce Hamilton Moore, Former Director International Land Coalition, Canada

Daniel McElroy, Lawyer, United States

Daniel Riuz, Human rights researcher, Italy

Danna Ester Hernández Alvarado, Civic activist, Honduras

Diego José Torres Saldaña, Lawyer, Ecauador

Edward Ahangama, Lawyer, Sri Lanka

Fabiano Angélico, International asset recovery consultant, Brazil

Fleury Rakotomalala, Investigative journalist, Madagascar

Gary Pienaar, Advocate of the High Court, South Africa

Hashim Awad Abdelmageed, Laywer, Sudan

Iman Mirzazadeh, Lawyer, Iran/Sweden

Joachim F. Reuter, Author & public speaker on ethics, Germany

José Salvador González Cervantes, Researcher, Comunidad PIRC/CIDE, Mexico

Juanita Olaya Garcia, Governance and sustainability expert, Colombia/Germany

Karen Glossop, Communication & leadership consultant, Canada/United Kingdom

Kevin Joseph Comeau, Laywer, Canada

Kim Gleeson, Director of Universal Human Rights Network, Australia

Laurence Cockcroft, Co-founder of Transparency International, United Kingdom

Linnea Mills, Anti-corruption researcher, Sweden/United Kingdom

Mario G Picon, International development expert, Peru/United States

Maxe Fisher, Artist, Canada

Mona Hafez, Migration expert, Germany/Senegal

Nicholas Keith Staite, Former Crown Prosecutor, United Kingdom

Nicholas Smyrnios, Artist, Greece/Sweden

Olumide Gabriel Areo, Nigerian Students’ Accountability Network

Paul Reid, Former trade union official, Australia

Peter Eigen, Founder of Transparency International, Germany

Rakesh Raman, Journalist, India

Reynaldo Castro Melgarejo, Anti-corruption investigator, Mexico

Richard E. Messick, Global Anticorruption Blog

Rob Davidson, Open data advocate, Canada

Robert Davidson, Member of Open Government Multi-Stakeholder Forum, Canada

Roberto Júlio Tibana, Economist, Mozambique

Rochelle Rocain Dean, Executive Director Civil Society Bahamas

Rubén Darío León Pineda, Anti-corruption researcher, Colombia

Santiago Wortman Jofre, Lawyer, Argentina

Sarah Steingrüber, Global health expert, Germany

Stephan Klaus Ohme, Financial expert, Germany

Stuart Hendin, Legal expert, Canada

Taher Al-Hatef, Anti-corruption researcher, Yemen

Wayne Copeland, Community activist, Canada

William Bourdon, Lawyer & Founder of Sherpa, France

 

More Signatories

Academia

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Adam Sneyd, University of Guelph

Adriana Rosenfeld, Universidad Nacional de Luján, Argentina

Ahmad Shukri Al Rimawi, Jordan University (retired)

Anne Marie Goetz, Center for Global Affairs, New York University

Antonina Voloshenko, National Defenсe University of Ukraine

Ayfer Karayel, Galatasaray University

Bienvenido Ortega, Universidad de Málaga

Brian Seville, Cape Breton University & Lambton College, Jillin University

Bruce Kidd, University of Toronto

Dalton Sardenberg, Fundação Dom Cabral

Daniel L. Feldman, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York

Dominik Zaum, University of Reading

Elena Fernández Gascueña, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

Elisabetta Iossa, University of Rome Tor Vergata

Emmanuel S. Caliwan, Polytechnic University of the Philippines

Gabriel Zucman, University of California, Berkeley

Georgios Antonopoulos, Teesside University

Gordon Bailey, Capilano University (retired)

Heather Marquette, University of Birmingham

Hugh Govan, Adjunct Senior Fellow University of the South Pacific, School of Government, Development & International Affairs

Ina Kubbe, Tel Aviv University

Jean-Loup Chappelet, Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration, University of Lausanne (IDHEAP)

Jean-Marc Gollier, University of Louvain

Jeevan Kumar, Centre for Ambedkar Studies, Bangalore University

Jiri Melich, KIMEP University (former)

John P. Pace, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales & Sydney Centre for International Law, the University of Sydney

Jose Ugaz, Pontifical Catholic University; former Ad-Hoc State Attorney of Peru; former Chair of Transparency International

Joses Kirigia, African Sustainable Development Research Consortium

Kevin I. J. Yeh, Shih Hsin University

Leonard J. Brooks, University of Toronto

Liz David-Barrett, University of Sussex

Ljubomir Jacić, Technical College Požarevac (retired)

Louise Shelley, Terrorism Transnational Crime and Corruption Center, Schar School, George Mason University

Luís de Sousa, Instituto de Ciências Sociais, Universidade de Lisboa

Martin Hearson, Institute of Development Studies

Martin Kreutner, Dean Emeritus, International Anti-Corruption Academy

Matthew C. Stephenson, Harvard Law School

Matthew H Murray, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

Michael Breen, Anti-Corruption Research Centre, Dublin City University

Michal Johnston, Charles A. Dana Professor of Political Science (emeritus), Colgate University

Mick Moore, International Centre for Tax and Development

Mira Johri, Université de Montréal

Miriam Estrada-Castillo, Universidad Casa Grande

Moses Agaawena Amagnya, Staffordshire University

Muhittin Acar, Hacettepe University

Neila Chaabane, Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Sciences of Tunis

Nikolay Naydenov, Sofia University “St. Climent Ohridski”

Nikos Passas, Northeastern University

Nils Finn Munch-Petersen, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies

Noemi Gal-Or, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (emerita)

Omololu Fagbadebo, Durban University of Technology

Pablo Biderbost, Universidad Pontificia Comillas

Pascale Hélène Dubois, Georgetown University Law Center

Paul M Heywood, University of Nottingham

Prabhat Ranjan, University of Allahabad

Professor Hannah Vowles, Birmingham City University

Richard Murphy, Sheffield University Management School

Robert Barrington, Centre for the Study of Corruption, University of Sussex

Robert Gillanders, Anti-corruption Research Centre, Dublin City University

Ronald Berenbeim, Leonard. N. Stern School of Business Administration, New York University

Shaazka Beyerle, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center, Schar School of Government and Policy, George Mason University

Sol Picciotto, International Centre for Tax and Development

Sophie Lemaître, University of Rennes 1

Susan Rose-Ackerman, Yale University (Emeritus Professor of Law and Political Science)

Tankie Khalanyane, National University of Lesotho

Taryn Vian, University of San Francisco

Thomas Piketty, School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Paris School of Economics

Vanessa van den Boogaard, International Centre for Tax and Development & University of Toronto

Vitezslav Titl, Utrecht University

Bayero University Kano, Nigeria

Center for International Human Rights, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Centre for Governance & Public Policy, Griffith University

Centre for Peace and Justice, Brac University

Copenhagen International School

International Centre for Tax and Development, University of Toronto

The Hague University of Applied Sciences

Transcrime, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute

Universidad de Barcelona

Universidad del Valle de Atemajac, Mexico

University of Lagos

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Business

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4MM Consulting, Brazil

Arborealis LEI AS, Norway

Arcade Legal & Consulting Services, Albania

Avi One Services, Canada

Banka BioLoo Limited, India

Border Paving Ltd., Canada

Bulgarian Swiss Chamber of Commerce

Business Integrity Alliance, Malaysia

Cabot Capital Partners, Colombia

Caribbean Office of Trade & Industrial Development Limited

Clarke Quay Sàrl, Switzerland

Corporate Research and Investigations Limited

Dobel Farming and Trading Ltd, Papua New Guinea

Droguerias Y Farmacias Cruz Verde, Colombia

Ecco Advisors LLC, United States

EVO GmbH, Germany

Fair Tax Mark, United Kingdom

FEXLAW, Ecuador

Forum Chambers, United Kingdom

Genc Myftiu, Albania

Gray Bay Consultants Limited, UK

Havilah Company Limited, Uganda

ICOTeam Europe

Industrieconsult, Bulgaria

Integrated Management Systems (IMS) S.r.l, Italy

Integrity Sports India

MECMAC Ltd, United Kingdom

Multispin Tex Private Limited, India

NIUGENE PNG Limited, Papua New Guinea

Pacific 360 Pty Ltd, Australia

PCR Law & Associates, Australia

Pedro Azul B.V., Netherlands

Planus do Brasil

[email protected] Sàrl

Reboot Design

Red Horse Fruit Juice Manufacturer Sendirian Berhad, Malaysia

Refinitiv

Sarsenov’s Corporate Governance Advisory, United States

Servicios de Salud Mundial, S.A., Guatemala

Sigma Risk, United Kingdom

SIRA International Risk Advisors Inc., Canada

SJM Online Retail Ltd, United Kingdom

SKOL & SERNA, Colombia and United States

South Spain Properties

Stream House AG, Switzerland

Tamas Consultants Inc., Canada

Telos Governance Advisers, United States

The Vera Group, United States

Trade Center of the Americas

UK Doorstep Choice Limited

UNISHKA Research Service, United States

VAPTECH Bulgaria

Warrior Square Limited, United Kingdom

Wealth-X

World Commodity Freight, United States

Abdullah Mahmood, Service delivery professional, Canada

Ali Asad N. Malik, Corporate lawyer & compliance specialist, Pakistan

Andrew John Fernbach, Lawyer and founder of GOVLAW, Australia

Anthony Bennett, Public financial management consultant, United Kingdom

Avedius Severine, Financial crime specialist, Tanzania

Bronwyn Best, Ethics consultant, Canada

Denis Meunier, Anti-money laundering consultant & Former Deputy Director of Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada

Faisal Anwar, Independent consultant – compliance and ethics, Pakistan

Frank Thomas Heckeler, Business executive, Brazil

Gabriel Tavera Zafra, CEO at iSOSRisk S.A.S., Colombia

Greg M. Bernstein, Founder, Grotto Networking

Hannes Bäck Hyldig, Anti-money laundering specialist, Denmark

Ian Szlazak, CEO of Resolution House Inc., Canada

Ingo Steinhaeuser, Director of Refinitiv, United States

Ivan Georgiev Dimitrov, Compliance officer, United States

James Wasserstrom, Director of the Wasserstrom Group, Greece

Jean Pierre Chabot, Entrepreneur, Canada

Joe Garett, Investment banker, United States

John G Hudson, Engineer and aerospace and automotive industry auditor, United States

Jorge Londoño Saldarriaga, Former president of Bancocolombia, Colombia

Learnmore Nyamudzanga, Tax consultant, Zimbabwe

Manunatha Amaratunga, Certified Public Accountant, Sri Lanka

Mario-Ricardo Calderon, CEO at Servicios de Salud Mundial, S.A., Guatemala

Mark Moody-Stuart, Former Chairman of Anglo American PLC & Former Chairman of the Committee of Managing Directors of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, United Kingdom

Márton Szegedi, Lawyer, Hungary/Luxembourg

Michael David Loewen, Anti-money laundering investigator, Canada

Michał Zemelka, CEO of EnterSystem, Poland

Muhammad Shahzad, Accountant, Pakistan

Paul van Acker, Compliance specialist, Spain/Netherlands

Paula van Egmond, Legal counsel & compliance officer, Netherlands

Peter Dent, Partner at Deloitte LLP & Former Chair, Transparency International Canada

Rasmus Engelbrecht, Regulatory affairs expert, Switzerland

Shainul Bhanji, Certified Public Accountant, Tanzania

Sterling Eddy, Business executive (retired), Canada

Tafadzwa Luke Mupingashato, Financial crime expert, South Africa

Tannuva Akbar, Compliance analyst, Canada

Thomas Mitro, President & COO, Aerie Pharmaceuticals, United States

Trevor Casbolt, Compliance officer, Guernsey

Yohan Favreau, Global risk & compliance manager, France

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Public sector

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Azeddine Akesbi, Professor of Economics, Center of Education Planning (COPE), Ministry of Education, Morroco

David K. Akoi, Director of Internal Audit Agency, Liberia

Erinomo Temitope Olubunmi, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nigeria

Jon Ramberg, Diplomat (retired), Norway

Juan Manuel López Nadal, Diplomat (retired), Spain

Lisa Kubiske, Diplomat (retired), United States

Otto Reiners, Member of Münster City Council, Germany

Paula Alexis, Public official (former), Trinidad and Tobago

Roy John Cullen, Former Member of Parliament for Etobicoke North, Canada & Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC)

Yen-Hung Lin, Office of Housing Development, Taoyuan City Government, Taiwan

Libya Asset Recovery & Management Office

Namibia Anti-Corruption Commission

SME Corporation Papua New Guinea

University of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine

Westminster Foundation for Democracy, United Kingdom

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