European Parliament takes step toward ending secret company ownership

Issued by Transparency International Liaison Office to the European Union



Transparency International today applauds the decision taken by two European Parliament committees to make it harder to use anonymous shell companies and trusts to launder corrupt funds. European Union governments with a real desire to combat corruption should give these amendments their full backing.

Today the European Parliament LIBE and ECON committees voted in favour of groundbreaking amendments to EU Anti-Money Laundering legislation, which would make open to the public the real (beneficial) owners of companies and trusts in the EU. The Parliament’s agreed position goes beyond the initial European Commission proposal released last year.

 “The flow of dirty money into the EU remains a serious challenge that undermines the EU’s credibility as an anti-corruption actor. Making this information public is not only cost-effective, but will also help civil society, journalists and the public to weed out false information to help uncover corruption and crime, says Carl Dolan Director of the Transparency International EU office.

Corruption around the world is facilitated by people’s ability to launder and hide the proceeds of their crimes, which also robs both developed and developing countries of significant public revenues. Opaque ownership structures involving anonymous shell companies and trusts enable money launderers to disguise and conceal the illicit origins of their wealth. An important loophole has been the lack of transparency around who owns and controls companies, trusts, foundations and other legal structures in the EU.

“€120 billion is lost from the EU economy every year according to the recent EU Anti-Corruption Report, much of that facilitated by money-laundering using these opaque structures,” added Carl Dolan.

Whether these amendments find their way into the final Directive will depend on the political will of EU Member States in the Council. Building on declarations made at G8 and G20, the Greek and forthcoming Italian Presidencies should push for a Council position that supports these provisions for public registers of beneficial ownership.   


For any press enquiries please contact

Nienke Palstra
Policy Officer
E. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 
T. +32 (0)2 23 58 643

Ronny Patz
Communications
E. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
T. +32 (0)2 23 58 640

Latest

Support Transparency International

Unexplained Wealth Orders: How to catch the corrupt and corrupt money in the UK

UK parliament passed an important provision that introduces a powerful new weapon into the anti-corruption arsenal: Unexplained Wealth Orders.

Land rights in Georgia: the stench of corruption

This is the story of how Transparency International’s Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre in Georgia helped a group of villagers win a legal battle against local authorities who had stolen their land.

How corruption affects climate change

Corruption and climate change are closely intertwined.

The secret is out: US$2.7 billion of São Paulo property linked to offshore companies

Our investigation into the real estate market in São Paulo shows how easy it is to hide more than US$2.7 billion worth of property behind shell companies.

Clean contracting at work: an example from Vilnius

The Neris Riverside development is part of a wider initiative to promote clean contracting across Europe – all told, we're monitoring 17 major public contracts worth nearly €1 billion.

A year after Panama Papers, is enough being done to stop illicit finance?

The Panama Papers revealed a global web of secret companies and stealthy crooks hiding stolen wealth, but one year on the corrupt still find it too easy to shift illegal assets and sustain criminally luxurious lifestyles.

Fighting land corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa: Widows tell their story

See a short film created by Ghanaian widows evicted from their land who decided to organise and challenge official indifference.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world