The EU Council Votes for Greater Transparency

12/12/2014
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According to research by Global Financial Integrity nearly $70 billion flowed illegally into or out of emerging EU economies in 2011. Anonymous shell companies can be used to cover the flow of illegal money, siphon off cash from government budgets, and evade law enforcement. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that only 1% of cases of illicit funds being transferred are detected globally. A World Bank review of nearly 200 big corruption cases over the last 30 years found that 70% of those cases involved the misuse of corporate entities, such as anonymous shell companies.

In October 2014 B Leader Dr. Mo Ibrahim addressed letters to 3 key EU governments, using his voice to try and influence the position of the European Council on the update of the Anti-money Laundering Collective. He called for them to implement Public Registries of beneficial ownership of companies. Public Registries would allow law-enforcement to take action, and aid detection of international crime, as well garner improvements for the business environment.

In December 2014 the EU 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive was revised by the European Parliament and EU Council, to ensure access to company beneficial ownership data for law enforcement and relevant government bodies via central registries and for partial access to be given to the public if they can prove a legitimate interest.

These measures go well beyond what is required of member states under the G20 High-Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership Transparency and will be implemented by all member states within 2 years.

 

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