London, 18 June 2013 – The UK Government’s welcome commitments on rolling back financial secrecy must now turn into concrete action, in particular ensuring that information on the ‘real’ owners of companies is made public, said anti-corruption group Transparency International UK (TI-UK).
"The UK Government must be congratulated for setting an ambitious agenda and for firmly putting the issues of corruption, transparency, and governance on the international stage. The Government has also demonstrated an exemplary commitment to involving civil society in the G8 process,” said Robert Barrington, Executive Director of Transparency International UK.
“It is critical that the momentum is not lost and that the UK continues its dialogue with partner governments and the British Overseas Territories in order to turn words and promises into sustainable action. In particular, the UK register of the beneficial owners of companies must be made public so that citizens around the world can hold their companies and governments to account."
Noting that some G8 members are still laggards in key areas of transparency, Transparency International is calling on the G8 leaders to build on the momentum created by the Lough Erne Summit by taking action in the following areas:
- Company ownership: G8 countries should emulate the leadership shown by the UK and take the necessary steps to establish mandatory, public registers that disclose the beneficial ownership of trusts and companies.
- Tax: Four members of the G8 have already embarked on a pilot programme to exchange tax information automatically on a multilateral basis. The remaining four (Canada, Japan, Russia and the US) should join this pilot programme, and work towards ensuring that automatic exchange of financial information becomes the global standard.
- Extractive transparency: All remaining G8 countries should sign and implement the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and encourage others to do the same. G8 countries should undertake consultations with sectors beyond the natural resource industries, with a view to future roll-out of legislation that obliges all companies to publish payments, revenues and key organisational data on a project-by-project and country-by-country basis.
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