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Civil Society Advancing Beneficial Ownership Transparency

Civil Society Advancing Beneficial Ownership Transparency

Participants of the Third NEBOT Meeting, 29 November, Brussels. Photo: Transparency International

The Network of Experts on Beneficial Ownership Transparency (NEBOT) is one of the project’s key components.

NEBOT brings together initially 32, now 31 academics, civil society organisations, journalists and other experts with an interest in beneficial ownership transparency, including obliged entities and public authorities, with the goals of:

  • improving the exchange of knowledge between civil society actors on EU anti-money laundering/ counter-terrorism financing (AML/CFT) policies, especially the use of beneficial ownership as a transparency tool
  • deepening the understanding of key issues faced by relevant actors, including civil society organisations, journalists, academics, obliged entities and competent authorities, in accessing and using beneficial ownership information to tackle money laundering and financial crime
  • promoting engagement, cooperation and networking tools between civil society actors and public-private partners to improve beneficial ownership transparency and AML/CFT prevention
  • developing and improving tools and instruments to further the fight against money laundering and financial crime, mainly in the field of beneficial ownership transparency through the development of policy positions and written contributions

The primary aim of NEBOT is to inform actions by the European Parliament and the European Commission, through virtual and in-person meetings as well as policy papers and written contributions.

First NEBOT meeting

The inaugural meeting of the Network of Experts on Beneficial Ownership Transparency (NEBOT) took place on 9 and 10 November 2021. 

In this first two-day meeting, the experts were introduced to the project and agreed on the topics for the six policy papers they will produce to help strengthen beneficial ownership transparency in the European Union. The topics include access, quality and interconnectivity of beneficial ownership data.

More specifically, NEBOT members will dig into the challenges in accessing and using beneficial ownership information and examine the main gaps and legal loopholes limiting its availability. Experts will also assess the different approaches taken by EU countries to verify and ensure the quality of beneficial ownership information and explore the types of data that, in combination with beneficial ownership information, may help trace illicit funds. In addition, the Network will look into the profiles of the beneficial owners of European companies, how they control firms and the kinds of ownership structures they employ in an effort to support risk assessment of legal persons and arrangements in Europe.  

Second NEBOT meeting

During the initial session of the second NEBOT meeting held on 28 June 2022, the experts presented the findings of three initial papers and received first-hand feedback from peers. These papers bridge theory and practice, and will delve into discussions on the challenges and opportunities linked to the definition of beneficial ownership for companies, explore the gaps and loopholes of beneficial ownership registration for trusts vis-à-vis the requirements established for legal persons, and present an empirical analysis showcasing the utility of linking information on the firm ownership structures of European companies with real estate data to identify financial crime risks in the region.

These topics will be the subject of written contributions that will be submitted to the European Commission as part of the CSABOT project, to inform policymaking on beneficial ownership transparency matters at the EU level.

The second NEBOT meeting continued on 14 September, with NEBOT authors presenting three policy papers and discussing the findings and recommendations with experts.

The first contribution highlighted existing strategies to ensure the quality of the information on beneficial ownership registers in the EU and stirred a substantial debate on good practices on data accuracy and verification. The second paper showcased the potential of connecting beneficial ownership data with other existing relevant datasets, such as real estate and public procurement data, to detect potential cases of illicit wealth, corruption and other crimes. The last paper focused on the challenges faced by different stakeholders in effectively using beneficial ownership information contained in registers. To that end, the paper assesses the extent to which the public, obliged entities and competent authorities can access, use and trust the information in BO registers.

The next NEBOT meeting will be held in-person in Brussels on 29 November, before a high-level conference "Curbing financial crimes in Europe with beneficial ownership transparency”, taking place on 30 November.

Third NEBOT meeting

The Network of Experts on Beneficial Ownership Transparency met in person on 28 and 29 November 2022 in Brussels for a final meeting. The discuss the findings, policy recommendations, and impacts of the NEBOT written contributions, and the future and sustainability of the network as the Action comes to an end. These discussions were timely considering the recent EU Court of Justice ruling, which reduced access to beneficial ownership information to those with a demonstrated legitimate interest. Experts noted the implications of the ruling on their recommendations and more broadly on beneficial ownership transparency across Europe.

Meet the Experts

Silvina Bacigalupo

Silvina Bacigalupo is a full professor of criminal law at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, where she also earned her law degree in 1992 and PhD in 1997. She teaches criminal law and economic criminal law, with a special focus on white-collar crime and corporate criminal law. She has been a visiting researcher at the Max-Planck Institute for Criminal and International Criminal Law (1993-96); a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley (1997-98); and a visiting scholar at Washington Law Center (WLC) at American University (2019). She has lectured in several countries in Latin America (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia and Peru) and Europe (Germany and Italy). She has participated in the EuroSocial-European Programme in Projects of Public Policy Promotion for the Prevention of Corruption and been an expert advisor on corporate laws in Peru and Colombia. She has participated in more than 20 national and international research projects on white-collar crime, anti-corruption enforcement and compliance. She has been a member of the Committee on "Compliance management systems and anti-corruption management systems" and AENOR (Spanish Standards Association). She is a member of the Advisory Council PNC - National Contact Point for OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness / Secretary of State for Trade) since 2014; and a member of the Academic Network for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, OECD General Secretariat since 2016. She is senior fellow at the Fundación Para la Investigación sobre Derecho y Empresa (FIDE) and also teaches at Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Madrid (Madrid Bar Association). She was special legal counsel at the Law Firm Oliva-Ayala (2008-10) with a focus on compliance, corporate governance and economic criminal law; and counsel for white-collar crimes at Hogan Lovells (2010-11).  Since 2014, she has been counsel for white-collar crimes at A25-Abogados&Economistas in Madrid. In 2011, she joined Transparency International-Spain and became a member of the board in 2013. Since 2019, she has been the chair of TI-Spain. She is the author of a number of books on economic criminal law and has published numerous articles in national and international journals. Her publications include La Responsabilidad Penal de las Personas Jurídicas (Criminal Liability of Corporations) and, with co-author Dr. Miguel Bajo, Delitos contra la Hacienda Pública (Criminal Tax Frauds) and Derecho Penal Economico (Economic Criminal Law).

Laure Brillaud

Laure Brillaud has over 12 years of experience in public policy at the national, European and international levels. Laure currently works as a fellow investigative journalist for Investigate Europe and an independent expert on money laundering and corruption. Prior to this, she worked at Transparency International, where she was leading the research and advocacy campaign on anti-money laundering at the EU level. Her primary focus was on beneficial ownership transparency, the role of intermediaries, anti-money laundering supervision, the regulation of the golden visa industry and asset recovery. She also spent six years with the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) as a policy analyst on development issues. Laure has a master’s in civil engineering from Mines ParisTech and a dual master’s in international affairs from Sciences Po and Columbia University.

Mihály Fazekas 

Mihály Fazekas is the scientific director of an innovative think-tank, the Government Transparency Institute. He is also an assistant professor at the Central European University, School of Public Policy, with a focus on using Big Data methods to understand the quality of government globally. He has a PhD from the University of Cambridge where he pioneered Big Data methods to measure and understand high-level corruption in Central and Eastern Europe. He also has a master’s degree in pedagogy from Corvinus University and has led trainings, workshops and courses for over 10 years. His research and policy interests revolve around corruption, favouritism, private sector collusion and government spending efficiency. Methodologically, he has experience in both quantitative and qualitative methods in diverse fields such as public policy, economics and political science. He worked at the University of Cambridge as the scientific coordinator of the Horizon 2020 funded project DIGIWHIST, which created a network of NGOs around using large-scale datasets and advanced analytics for corruption risks and transparency in public procurement in 33 European countries. He also serves as a co-principal investigator on the Global Integrity/UK FCDO-funded research project looking at anti-corruption in development-aid-funded procurement and creating practical analytical products for corruption risk assessment for NGOs and governments. He regularly consults the European Commission, Council of Europe, EBRD, OECD, World Bank and national governments and NGOs across the globe. Together with Bence Tóth and István János Tóth, he was awarded on two occasions the first prize in the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre competition for the best new proxy measure of corruption.

Isabella Fontana

Isabella Fontana is head of the International Relations Office for AML/CFT at the Directorate for Prevention of Financial Crimes in the Treasury Department (Italy’s Ministry of Economy and Finance).  She is also head of Italy’s FATF delegation. After four years in the private banking sector, she has worked in public administration since 2003 and in the AML sector since 2009. She is the Head of Italy’s FATF delegation. She followed the revision of the AML/CFT international standards adopted in 2012 under Italy’s FATF Presidency. She was a member of the PCY team under Italy’s EU Presidency in 2014, when the negotiations for the 4th AML Directive were completed. Beneficial ownership has been often at the centre of her work in offices at FATF, G20, G7 and the EU. Isabella has a degree in political science and economics and a master’s in public administration.

Angela Foyle

Angela Foyle is the chair of the Accountancy Europe Anti-Money Laundering Working Party. She is a member of a number of industry working groups on economic crime and represents the accountancy sector on the Public Private Steering Committee in the UK. She is a chartered accountant and graduated in law from Trinity College, Dublin. She also holds a post-graduate diploma in financial crime. 

Mariano Garcia Fresno

Mariano Garcia Fresno is head of the analysis and communication unit of the Centralized Body for the Prevention of Money Laundering (OCP) of the General Notary Council of Spain. He has spent his entire professional career as a civil servant, first in the Customs Department, then in the Tax Administration and later in the Treasury. Until 2006, he was head of service of the Secretariat of the Commission for the Prevention of Money Laundering and the representative of Spain in the Financial Action Group of South America (GAFISUD). He has participated in missions organised by the IMF, the World Bank and the European Commission in many countries, including England, the Netherlands, Honduras, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Brazil, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Morocco, Algeria, Albania, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. He has participated in training activities as a speaker in several others, including Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, Chile, Panama, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Guatemala and Nicaragua. He received a degree in economics from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and a master’s in financial consulting and tax under IFRS from the University Rey Juan Carlos of Madrid. In 2010, he received the Police Merit Cross from the Ministry of Interior. In 2011, he also received the Silver Cross of the Order of Merit Civil Guard Corps. 

Yves Gonner

Yves Gonner is the Managing Director of Luxembourg Business Registers, which since 2019 manages the country’s Register of Beneficial Owners. He has gathered extensive experience in the banking and finance industry over the last 30 years, as an Economic counsellor at the Chamber of Commerce of Luxembourg and Secretary General to the National Export Credit Insurance Agency, as well as in different management positions at a major bank in Luxembourg. 

Adam Hexner

Adam Hexner is a civil servant in the legislative department (civil law unit) of the Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic. He is concerned with civil law and public registers. Adam is a ministerial legal supervisor for public registers’ information system. He has been participating in the drafting of the Czech legislation on the country’s beneficial ownership register since its beginning in 2015. He has knowledge and experience of both the practical side of the public register and its legislative background. 

Roger Kaiser

Roger Kaiser is a senior policy advisor at the European Banking Federation (EBF), where he is in charge of taxation and combatting financial crime. He served previously as an advisor to the Belgium Finance Ministry and, since 2020, has been a permanent member of the steering committee of the Europol Financial Intelligence Public Private Partnership (EFIPPP). He is an active member of the European chapter of the Global Coalition to Fight Financial Crime (GCFFC) and the Financial Crime Working Group of the International Banking Federation (IBFed). He is a co-founder and editor of Revue Fiscalité des Placements and author of La Fiscalité des titres à revenus fixes. 

Andres Knobel

Andres Knobel is a lawyer and senior researcher at the Tax Justice Network. His work focuses on beneficial ownership transparency, automatic exchange of banking information and offshore trusts. He has worked as a consultant on these issues for the Inter-American Development Bank, the Green Party at the European Parliament, the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT), the German Development Agency (GIZ), the UN High-level FACTI Panel and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). He is one of the main researchers on beneficial ownership for the Tax Justice Network’s Financial Secrecy Index, assessing the legal and beneficial ownership registration framework of more than 130 jurisdictions. He has written several policy papers on beneficial ownership transparency, loopholes and verification (one of which was quoted by the FATF paper on “Concealment of Beneficial Ownership”). He leads the multi-stakeholder group to promote beneficial ownership verification pilots and has spoken at several workshops, seminars and conferences on beneficial ownership, including trainings on loopholes and verification for civil society organisations and officials from tax administrations, financial intelligence units and commercial registries. 

Patricia Kordesch

Patricia Kordesch is the head of department within the operational analysis division at Germany’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). Prior to joining the FIU, she held various leadership positions with regional and global responsibilities, including executive director of a global DNFBP; and director of internal audit and head of operational risk management at a global financial institution. She is an active member of several private organisations at the forefront of AML, compliance and ethics, internal audit and risk management. 

Marek Kordík 

Marek Kordík was born in 1983 and graduated from the Faculty of Law at Comenius University in 2006. He completed his postgraduate studies at the United Nations in 2009 by defending his final thesis, then in 2010 defended his dissertation in the Criminal Law (2010) at the Faculty of Law of Comenius University. Since 2014 he has been part of the Slovakian National Risk Assessment team and was appointed in 2018 to the management of the Service of the Slovakian Criminal Police dealing with procedural criminal law, economic crimes, white-collar crimes and new forms of crime, especially the issue of criminal liability of legal persons, cybercrime and environmental crime. Since 2019 he has been building up the financial investigation capacities of the service. 

Michael Levi

Michael Levi is a graduate of Oxford, Cambridge and Southampton Universities and a professor of criminology at Cardiff University since 1975.  He has studied white-collar and organised crime, corruption, money laundering, and the financing of terrorism since 1972. His books include The Phantom Capitalists, Regulating Fraud and Drugs and Money. His recent distinctions include the 2020 Al-Thani International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award in Academic Research and Education from the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Centre/UNODC; the 2019 Gilbert Geis Lifetime Achievement Award from the Division of White-Collar and Corporate Crime of the American Society of Criminology; the 2019 Outstanding Achievement Award from the British Society of Criminology; the 2017 runner-up for the ESRC’s International Impact Prize; the 2014 Sellin-Glueck Award from the American Society of Criminology, for contributions to comparative and international criminology; and the 2013 Distinguished Scholar Award from the International Association for the Study of Organized Crime. He is a fellow at the Learned Society of Wales and the Academy of Social Sciences; a senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute; and a senior research fellow at RAND Europe. He has completed work on the detection of insider cyber threats and pathways to cyber-enabled fraud; co-led an evaluation of the criminalisation of organised crime membership and special investigative measures in the EU; and researched the extent and impact of bank de-risking and the process and impact of anti-money laundering evaluations. His current projects include A Public Health Approach to Fraud; Fraud and its relationship to Pandemics and Economic Crises from 1850 to the Present; the Impact of technologies on criminal markets and transnational organised crime; and cyber-enabled fraud and money laundering projects.

Rupert Manhart

Rupert Manhart was born 1977 in Salzburg and has been attorney-at-law and partner at Manhart Einsle & Partner since 2009. He has been member of the Austrian Delegation to the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and a member of the CCBE Anti-Money Laundering Committee since 2010, as well as chair of the CCBE Anti-Money Laundering Committee since 2017. In 2020, he was appointed chair of the Working Group on the Prevention of Money Laundering of the Austrian Bar (ÖRAK). Additionally, he has been a member of the Committee on Criminal Law as well as the Commission on Criminal Law of the Austrian Bar since 2009; and vice-chair of the ÖRAK Committee on Criminal Law and a member of the CCBE Criminal Law Committee since 2020. Between 2002 and 2006, he was a junior lecturer in criminal Law at the University of Innsbruck. He was trained as an attorney-at-law from 2006 to 2008 at Fellner Wratzfeld Partner in Vienna, and from 2008 to 2009 at Stolz Manhart Einsle, Bregenz. He has studied law and international economic sciences at the Universities of Innsbruck and Strasbourg, as well as at the London School of Economics. He has written several publications and given lectures on financial criminal law, white-collar crime, money laundering, environmental criminal law, and European private law. 

Maíra Martini

Maíra Martini is a research and policy expert at Transparency International in Berlin specialising in anti-money laundering and beneficial ownership. She currently leads TI’s global programme on corrupt money flows and is also a member of the Global Anti-Corruption Consortium (GACC), a trail-blazing partnership between TI and investigative journalists from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). Maíra has authored several TI-S publications and analyses on anti-money laundering, and she also sits on the steering groups of OpenOwnership and the Anti-Corruption Data Collective (ACDC). The ACDC is a leading initiative bringing together diverse civil society actors to leverage both data and expertise to disrupt the specific drivers of transnational corruption flows, particularly in the fields of beneficial ownership, real estate and alternative investment funds. Maíra also coordinates joint initiatives with key stakeholders from civil society and the public and private sectors to advocate for improved anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards by the Financial Action Task Force and other standard-setting bodies. Prior to that, Maíra worked on the Anti-Corruption Helpdesk, where she produced research briefs on anticorruption and governance on a variety of issues and countries and led the establishment of TI’s Anti-Corruption Experts Network. Maíra is a lawyer and holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. 

Guna Paidere 

Guna Paidere is the director general of the Enterprises Register of Latvia. She has worked for the Enterprises Register since 2007, starting in the position of legal adviser and then leading the development of the institution’s services and IT. Over the years, she developed both legal and practical expertise in matters related to the operation of the Enterprises Register. She also represents the Enterprises Register in international events and working groups. 

Michele Riccardi

Michele Riccardi is a deputy director at Transcrime – Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC), an adjunct professor of financial and business information analysis at UCSC and an adjunct professor of risk-assessment methods at the University of Palermo. Since 2011, he has provided trainings to public authorities and private organisations. Furthermore, since 2012, he has gained a wide range of network experience both as a member of several prominent anti-money laundering and terrorist financing research networks, as well as establishing an academic network at UCSC. He has coordinated numerous research projects, at the national and international levels about money laundering, financial crime and organised crime. He has vast experience in development projects involving public-private partnerships and cooperation between universities and technology and data providers in the AML/CFT field. He is member of the Asset Recovery Office of the European Commission, the experts group of the EU supranational money laundering/terrorist financing risk assessment (SNRA) and the Italian national ML/TF risk assessment (NRA). He is also a member of the United Nations Working Group on the measurement of illicit financial flows (SDG 16.4). He has been consulted by World Bank on business ownership risk assessment initiatives and in the FATF/GAFI mutual evaluation of the Italian AML/CFT regime. He holds a Phd in Criminology, master’s in accounting and financial economics (with distinction) from the University of Essex (UK) and a master’s in international relations (cum laude) from UCSC. 

Louise Russell-Prywata 

Louise Russell-Prywata is director of policy and programmes at Open Ownership. She manages an international team providing technical assistance to governments implementing beneficial ownership transparency, working with almost 40 jurisdictions over the last four years. She also oversees the organisation's policy and technical guidance on beneficial ownership implementation, and research on the use and impact of reforms. Louise holds a senior Atlantic fellow position at the London School of Economics, where she has published research on topics including elite networks of financial influence and the role of company ownership data in wealth taxation. Previously, Louise worked within and consulted for a variety of civil society organisations and international projects in the governance and anti-corruption space, most recently spending five years with Transparency International UK, where she served as head of development. She is based in the UK and holds a master’s in inequalities and social science from the London School of Economics. 

Ernesto U. Savona 

Ernesto U. Savona is the director of Transcrime at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC) and a professor at Università di Palermo. Previously he was a professor at UCSC and the University of Trento and an associate professor at Università di Roma La Sapienza. He is editor-in-chief of the European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research and a consultant to the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Union. He was president of the European Society of Criminology (2003-4) and chair of the Global Agenda Council on Organized Crime of the World Economic Forum (2011-12). He is a member of the academic advisory board of the Europol SOCTA report and of the EU Commission (DG HOME) experts group on “Policy needs for data on crime & criminal justice”. He has coordinated more than 100 projects funded by the EU (in particular DG HOME, DG JUST and H2020, FP7, FP6), including project PROTON, OCP. His areas of expertise include organised and economic crime, illicit financial flows, analysis of crime statistics and criminal justice systems. 

Jason Sharman

Jason Sharman is the Sir Patrick Sheehy Professor of International Relations at the University of Cambridge and a fellow at King’s College, Cambridge. His research is focused on the regulation of global finance, especially as it relates to money laundering, taxes, corruption and offshore financial centres. His latest book in this field, The Despot’s Guide to Wealth Management, examines how the global rules designed to counter grand corruption first arose, how well these rules work and how they can work better. Aside from his academic research, Sharman has worked as a consultant to the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Financial Action Task Force, the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering and a variety of groups in the private sector. 

Gabriel Sipos 

Gabriel Sipos currently works as an independent anti-corruption consultant. He led the Slovakian chapter of Transparency International for almost 12 years until the spring of 2021. He spearheaded the research on tax havens in beneficial ownership in the country, which was the second in Europe to adopt the company ownership register. He also initiated a hotel-ownership project asking citizens to avoid vacationing in oligarch-owned properties. Gabriel graduated with degrees in both political science and economics from Central European University in Budapest.

Frederik Fabricius Smitt

Frederik Fabricius Smitt is a senior analyst at the Danish Financial Intelligence Unit. He is a specialist in financial intelligence and data science and is working to make the Danish FIU more data-driven. He has an educational background in IT and social data science and has previously worked in the field of cyber threat intelligence. 

Cécile Soriano 

Cécile Soriano is currently a European Delegated Prosecutor in France. She investigates and prosecutes offences affecting the budget of the European Union, including large-scale money-laundering schemes. Before joining the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, she was a policy and legal officer in the financial crimes unit of the Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Service and Capital Markets Union (FISMA) of the European Commission. She was in charge of EU Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), including and the EU FIU Platform, and established cooperation and support mechanisms for EU FIUs. In the European Commission, she was also seconded as a national expert in the Directorate-General for Justice, in charge of implementing the European Investigation Order, Joint Investigation Teams, the European Judicial Network in criminal matters, and the EU-US Mutual Legal Agreement. She started her career as a lawyer specialised in business and criminal law before becoming deputy prosecutor in the prosecution office of Lille in 2006. In 2017, she was an investigating judge specialised in financial organised crimes in the Juridiction Inter-Régionale Spécialisée. She graduated in law and international economy from Assas and Paris-Dauphine Universities and Sciences Po Paris and speaks French, Italian and English. 

Drew Sullivan

Drew Sullivan is a social entrepreneur and co-founder and publisher of OCCRP. He founded the organisation in 2007 with Paul Radu. Before that, in 2004, he founded and edited the Center for Investigative Reporting, the leading investigative centre in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Under his direction, OCCRP has won numerous awards, including the Daniel Pearl Award, the Global Shining Light Award, the Tom Renner Award for Crime Reporting, the European Press Prize and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. OCCRP’s work on the Panama Papers with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists won a 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Journalism. Previously, Drew was an investigative reporter for The Tennessean newspaper and the Associated Press’s special assignment team. He has served on the boards of Investigative Reporters and Editors, the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting and Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism. Before becoming a journalist, he was a structural dynamicist on the space shuttle project for Rockwell Space Systems. He has a degree in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, acted in four films and plays bodhran in the only authentic Irish/Celtic band in the Balkans. 

Alexandre Taymans

Alexandre Taymans is currently acting as the key expert on beneficial ownership for the European Union AML/CFT Global Facility project ( In this capacity, he is leading a multidisciplinary team of experts intervening in partner jurisdictions to facilitate the implementation and understanding of BOT standards by various relevant stakeholders (competent authorities, obliged entities and members of the general public). Between 2016 and 2021,Taymans was in charge of the implementation of the central beneficial ownership register at the Belgian Treasury, where he developed prime knowledge of the underlying legal, business and IT aspects such projects entail. Since 2018, he has been working as an international AML/CFT expert for various international organisations (Council of Europe, European Commission) and providing technical assistance to multiple jurisdictions on the implementation of various international AML/CFT standards (such as national BO disclosure frameworks, virtual assets and real estate). Taymans was also an assessor for the OECD’s Global Forum for Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes and participated in numerous national and international conferences on the topic of transparency of legal persons and arrangements and beneficial ownership, both as speaker and moderator. 

Christoph Trautvetter

Christoph Trautvetter is director of Netzwerk Steuergerechtigkeit, a German NGO working on tax justice and anti-money laundering, and works as an external project manager for Wem gehört die Stadt (Who Owns Our Cities?). He has written several studies on money laundering in Germany, on the German BO register and anonymous real estate, and on illicit financial flows from developing countries to Germany. He has worked as a forensic investigator at KPMG, for the budget committee of the European Parliament and on corruption and budget transparency in various African countries. With a master’s in public policy and a bachelor’s in philosophy & economics, he takes a public-management and efficiency-focused approach rather than a legalistic approach to problems. 

Brigitte Unger

Brigitte Unger, born in Austria in 1955, has studied economics at the Vienna University of Economics and at the Wirtschaftsuniversitaet Wien, where she also became professor. Since 2002, she holds the chair of public sector economics at the Utrecht University School of Economics. From 2012 until 2015, Brigitte Unger was also director of the Institute of Economics and Social Sciences WSI in Düsseldorf. From 2016 until 2020, she was the project leader of the EU 2020 Horizon project COFFERS (Combatting Fiscal Fraud and Empowering Regulators) on tax evasion and money laundering (see Oxford University Press: Since March 2020, she is a member of the Generalrat der OeNB (General Council of the Austrian National Bank). Her publications are on corporatism, economic policy, tax competition and money laundering. She measured money laundering for the Netherlands in 2006 and has studied money laundering in the real estate sector and corruption in public procurement and published several academic articles and six books with Edward Elgar on money laundering. She is also a consultant to the Dutch Ministry of Finance, the UNODC, the EU and EUROSTAT on money laundering and financial crime. 

François Valérian

François Valérian has been involved with Transparency International since 2008, starting with the International Secretariat (TI-S). He was elected to the board of Transparency International France in 2013 and the international board of Transparency International in 2019. His academic background is both scientific and literary. He graduated from Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole des Mines de Paris in France and holds a PhD in History (Early Modern Times). He started his professional career as an engineer in the French Ministry of Industry between 1989 and 1995, then worked in the banking and consulting industry (BNP and Accenture) between 1995 and 2005. He completed his PhD thesis in 2008. At TI-S, he was the head of private sector programmes, launched the monitoring of the G20 work, amplified and coordinated the fight against secrecy jurisdictions, and developed the Promoting Revenue Transparency project in the extractives. He is editor-in-chief of Les Annales des Mines, a French economic review, and teaches financial regulation and integrity at Ecole des Mines de Paris (Mines ParisTech) and Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers. From 2013 to 2019, he taught finance, regulation and governance at Sciences Po Paris. He is the author of various articles and books, including Crisis in Governance, Business Ethics and the Race for Profit (2011). 

Peter Varga

Peter Varga joined the Open Government Partnership’s Country Support Team in July 2016. He provides guidance and assistance to civil society organisations and governments across Europe (primarily in the North Sea/Baltic Sea region), supporting the development and implementation of open government reforms. Prior to OGP, he worked with Transparency International supporting 15 national chapters across the Nordic, Baltic and Central European regions, as well as devising the movement’s global internal communications policy. Earlier, Peter developed social enterprises and consulted on non-profit sustainability in emerging markets, also piloting the world’s first LGBT venture philanthropy fund. He also gained private sector experience working for a global marketing agency. Peter was Fulbright Visiting Practitioner at Stanford University in 2011-2012 and holds a master’s in international relations and European studies from Central European University and a bachelor’s in political science from Yale University. Currently based in Berlin, he is an avid reader of history books and a blessed cheesemaker. 

Maxime Vaudano

Maxime Vaudano is a data-driven investigative journalist for Le Monde, in France. He has worked on multiple projects involving tax avoidance and financial crime, such as the Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers, the CumexFiles and OpenLux. He is also interested in international trade agreements, private arbitration and EU policy.

Marco Vianello 

Marco Vianello is an international advisor of InfoCamere, the IT Consortium of the Italian Chambers of Commerce. He helped set up, implement and develop the Italian Business Register, internationally acknowledged as a best practice in eGovernment solutions. InfoCamere manages the Business Register data and information; keeps the whole system up and running on the cloud; and manages the nationwide network that connects all the chambers and their branches. Marco is a founding board member of the European Business Register Association (EBRA) in Brussels, which provides insights into business register policies, operations and technology. He also contributes to XBRL Europe, co-chairing the OAM and BR Working Group on the sharing of information between Officially Appointed Mechanisms in the framework of ESEF. He has successfully coordinated a number of European projects, including the Business Register Interconnection System (BRIS), the European Beneficial Ownership and Control Structures (EBOCS), the Once-Only Principle (TOOP) and OpenTrustFabric.