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Access & use of beneficial ownership registers: Written submission to the 10th UNCAC CoSP

Secrecy over who owns and controls companies and other legal vehicles has long been exploited by the corrupt to hide and launder their ill-gotten gains through the global financial system. 

The global debate on beneficial ownership transparency has evolved greatly since the adoption of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) 20 years ago. Today, we have significantly more evidence both on the abuse of anonymous companies and the solutions to the problem. It is clear that the Convention does not go far enough when it comes to specific obligations for ensuring effective beneficial ownership transparency frameworks.

As more and more States Parties prepare to set up beneficial ownership registers or reform current frameworks, their effectiveness hinges critical issues of accessibility, verification and use of data by all actors who have a role to play in anti-corruption.

The 10th UNCAC CoSP is an opportunity for countries to build on recent progress. Effective implementation of beneficial ownership reforms requires a critical mass of States Parties delivering on their UNCAC obligations in a meaningful way. Transparency International calls on States Parties to make new, ambitious commitments to unlock the potential of beneficial ownership data for anti-corruption and asset recovery.