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Transparency International Australia welcomes G20 pledge to clamp down on secret companies

G20 leaders have taken a concrete step to make it harder for the world’s corrupt to hide, with the
adoption in Brisbane of new G20 High Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership Transparency.


The new High-Level Principles set out actions for G20 countries to require company providers
to keep and share information on the real, living people who ultimately own and control
companies and other legal entities, including making them available to law enforcement
bodies, financial institutions and foreign governments.


The principles follow a clarion call from Transparency International, other groups and
business leaders to clamp down on the misuse of secret ‘shell’ companies to transfer and
hide the proceeds of corruption, tax evasion and other crimes. In 2011, the World Bank
found shell companies were used in 70 per cent of grand corruption cases over the last thirty years.


“Secret company ownership structures provide the smokescreen for the corrupt to hide,” said
Maggie Murphy, Senior Advocate, Transparency International. “For such a politically and economically diverse set of countries as the G20 to adopt these principles, is testament to the severity of the problem. We still maintain that the most efficient and effective way to share this crucial information is through public registers in all G20 countries. Major countries including the USA, Germany and Australia still need to honour their existing commitments to clamp down,” Ms Murphy said. “But the moral and political mandate for action has now been lifted to a new level.”


Transparency International also welcomes G20 leaders’ adoption of a new G20 Anti-Corruption
Action Plan 2015-2016, focusing on six priority areas including foreign bribery, high-risk
sectors such as the extractives industry and private sector transparency and accountability.


“Australia has demonstrated strong leadership in keeping corruption on the G20 agenda,”
said Greg Thompson, Transparency International Australia. “The devil will now be in the detail
of what every country – including Australia – does post-Brisbane to implement these actions.”


Turkey is set to take over as G20 host nation on December 1st. Oya Ozarslan, Transparency
International Turkey, who was also present in the Brisbane G20 media centre, said: “We look
forward to government of Turkey taking the baton from Australia and continuing to drive
strong anti-corruption measures.”


For any press enquiries please contact

Maggie Murphy
Transparency International
MMurphy@Transparency.org
+61 434 017 350

Greg Thompson
Transparency International Australia
gthompson@transparency.org.au
+61 438 826 511

Professor A J Brown
Transparency International Australia
a.j.brown@griffith.edu.au
+61 414 782 331