For far too long, corrupt officials have been able to stash their ill-gotten gains in foreign banks and/or invest them in luxurious mansions, expensive cars or elite education for their children. They have done this with total impunity and in blatant disregard for the citizens they are supposed to serve. They are aided by the complicity and complacency of countries and banking centres that allow illicit financial flows and entry of corrupt persons. This has to stop.
Transparency International and its partners announce the Unmask the Corrupt campaign, which aims to end the secrecy that aids and abets the shifting of the proceeds of corruption across borders. Money and power are not anonymous, nor should they be.
Championed by its national chapters, individual members and other activists, Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption, will follow the money wherever it may lead. After launching the campaign at the national level in June, several Transparency International chapters began spreading the message.
In Indonesia our chapter invited creative people to design visual communications material for the new campaign. Find out more here.
In Kuala Lumpur Transparency International Malaysia called on the government to advance the struggle against impunity: there is much work to be done to address illicit money outflows, money laundering and eliminate secret tax havens and opaque beneficial ownership. They said they will establish a civil society organisation coalition to work together to achieve the objective of the campaign, calling on the government to unmask the corrupt. Find out more here.
In South Africa our partners Corruption Watch noted that while the country has a strong legal framework of anti-corruption laws, their implementation is not robust, and perpetrators are seldom punished. Find out more here.
In Bern our chapter asked Swiss authorities to make it much harder for the corrupt to hide behind secret companies so that the country can keep criminal activity out of its financial system. In particular they said:
- Registers of beneficial ownership need to be created and made public. Bearer shares should either be abolished or shareholders should be required to register or deposit their shares with a financial intermediary.
- There should also be a limit for cash payments for real estate and luxury products. In the case of cash payments, real estate agents and sellers of luxury goods should be required to carry out due diligence on their customers before selling to them. Find out more here.
Transparency International UK focused on the illicit flows that travel through London. While it’s fairly common knowledge that millions, possibly billions, of corrupt funds are laundered in and via the UK every year, the nature of the beast means we can only estimate the exact figure. In fact, Transparency International UK has found the UK is unlikely to have frozen any more than 0.75% of global proceeds of corruption per year. Find out more here.
In the United States our chapter said legislation pending before the US Congress to mandate beneficial ownership transparency for US corporations would strike a blow against the impunity enjoyed by kleptocrats and other corrupt foreign officials. They also advocated that Congress should continue to study how it can best strengthen denial of entry procedures to ensure that the corrupt are kept out of the country. For too long, corrupt foreign officials have looted their countries and then enjoyed the proceeds of their thievery in Western countries, including the US. Find out more here.
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