The report published today by the UN High Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI Panel) lays out a clear vision for a cooperative international framework to combat corruption, tax evasion, money laundering and other financial crimes. It is imperative that this is converted into action by the international community.
The report includes a recommendation for an international anti-money laundering standard requiring all countries to create a central registry of beneficial ownership and encouraging countries to make the information public to avoid inconsistency between national approaches. It also highlights the failure of self-regulation of financial and legal professions to combat money laundering and calls for global standards that are translated into national regulation to stop these professions playing an enabling role in corruption networks. The Panel also makes strong proposals for effective international standards on settlements in cross-border corruption cases, as well as a mediation mechanism and other arrangements for international asset recovery cases.
Gillian Dell, Head of Conventions Unit at Transparency International, said: “We welcome this important action-orientated report and are glad to see such a high degree of alignment with Transparency International’s recommendations, particularly in the areas of corporate transparency, asset recovery and foreign bribery. The FACTI Panel has shown real commitment to hearing from civil society experts, and the report rightly calls for effective engagement with civil society in policy making forums. Having given the panel its mandate, it is now imperative that the international community acts on the concrete proposals set out in the report.”
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is currently considering a revision of Recommendation 24, which deals with beneficial ownership transparency. The FATF should take on board the FACTI Panel’s recommendations. Similarly, the UN General Assembly Special Session against Corruption (UNGASS 2021) scheduled for June, should establish central public registers of beneficial ownership as the new global standard. Yesterday, Transparency International submitted a petition signed by over 700 academics, business leaders, public bodies and civil society organisations calling for such a commitment to be included in the UNGASS 2021 declaration.
Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) should take seriously the report’s recommendations to update the process of reviewing implementation of UNCAC, as well as proposals to update peer review mechanisms to reduce duplication and increase efficiency.
Maira Martini, Research and Policy Expert on Corrupt Money Flows at Transparency International, said: “This report sets out a strong policy framework for reducing the impact of illicit financial flows on sustainable development. Now the ball is the court of national governments, multilateral organisations and international institutions. They cannot claim ignorance of the solutions as an excuse for inaction. We look forward to working with them on the implementation of an international financial framework that contributes to a fair and sustainable future for all.”
Notes to editors
- Hundreds of academics, civil society groups and business leaders join call for UN General Assembly to end anonymous shell companies (press release)
- Who is behind the wheel? Fixing the global standards on company ownership (report)
- Foreign bribery rages across the globe (feature article)
- Cross border corruption: It’s high time to return the assets and compensate the victims (blog)
- For a more equal world post-COVID-19: focus on the financial gatekeepers (feature article)
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