Catching up to themselves: G20 briefing

August 31st, 2016

For the last few years, the G20 has been writing the script on financial transparency. Just last year, at the 2015 Summit in Turkey, G20 leaders signed off on two important measures being implemented by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to cut down on cross-border tax abuse and multinational profit shifting. But a lot has happened since last year, and despite bold commitments at global summits, many G20 countries are still lagging behind.

This past April, the Panama Papers scandal showed us how a small group of the wealthy and powerful around the world have a second financial system at their disposal that isn’t available to the rest of us. At the heart of this system was the secrecy that can be bought for the price of a lawyer and some incorporation fees. Being able to hide the beneficial owner—the real person benefitting from or in control of a company—is an easy way for someone to conceal their identity to hide shady business deals, tax avoidance strategies, or corruption and money laundering.

Barely a month after the Panama Papers investigation went public, the UK played host to an anti-corruption summit that featured heads of state from more than 40 countries. By the week’s conclusion, a number of G20 governments had made new, bold commitments to transparency measures. And with the Panama Papers still generating debate around transparency, we’ve seen further commitments at the national level. This year’s summit in Hangzhou, China is an opportunity to bring these to the G20 table.

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Written by Financial Transparency Coalition

Image used under Creative Commons license / Flickr User Presidencia de la República Mexicana

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