Major corruption scandals hitting the news often share key commonalities: the people at the centre of the scandal use a complex web of anonymous companies, trusts and other legal entities situated across multiple jurisdictions to transfer and hide their illicitly sourced funds.
In recent years commitments have been made at the highest level to tackle the misuse of these corporate vehicles and trusts, and to increase transparency around who ultimately owns, controls or is benefitting from them. At their Brisbane Summit in November 2014, the Group of 20 (G20) leaders adopted High-Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership Transparency, describing financial transparency as a “high priority” issue. The G20 principles build upon the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations, which set the current global standards for anti-money laundering.
The current report, Just for Show? Reviewing G20 Promises on Beneficial Ownership assesses the extent to which G20 members are fulfilling their legal and regulatory commitments implicit in the G20 principles one year after their adoption. This baseline analysis identifies areas of strength and weakness in the current beneficial ownership transparency framework of each G20 member country so that progress can be monitored in the years to come. It draws on data collected from expert questionnaires focusing on the key components of each G20 principle.