Massive ICIJ exposé on offshore secrecy should spur G8 action

April 4th, 2013

LONDON – The massive cache of leaked documents demonstrates how hidden ownership of shell companies facilitates corruption, tax dodging and other crimes. Mr. Cameron has made a welcome promise to make tax and financial transparency priority issues at the meeting of G8 leaders in Northern Ireland this June.

Stuart McWilliam, Campaigner at Global Witness said: “This revelation of the extent of financial secrecy should act as a wake-up call to us all. Hidden company ownership enables corruption, state looting and dodgy deals that directly deplete state budgets and entrench poverty. Arms traffickers, drug dealers, and corrupt politicians all use shell companies to carry out their illicit activity.”

“It is not just offshore centres that facilitate this sort of secrecy. Lawyers, banks and company service providers in the UK and US are expert at providing anonymity to those who can pay,” he added.

“By requiring the names of the ultimate beneficial owners of all companies to be made public, G8 leaders could provide a huge boost to efforts to reduce corruption and financial crime globally and to promote development worldwide. There is no excuse for them not to act.”

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Notes to the Editor:

1. Read the ICIJ story.

2. Read Global Witness’ Idiot’s Guide to Money Laundering.

3. Global Witness investigates and campaigns to prevent natural resource-related conflict and corruption and associated environmental and human rights abuses.

Contact: Global Witness for further comment and interviews:  Robert Palmer +44 7545 645406+44 20 7492 5860, or Stuart McWilliam +44 7711 007199, +44 207 492

Written by Global Witness

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