reporting by Fergus Shiel
Corrupt officials and criminals around the world rely on lax corporate laws and anemic-money laundering safeguards to protect their ill-gotten gains.
Secrecy facilitates corruption because secrecy is allowed in first place.
11 G20 countries still have ‘weak or average’ laws for revealing the real-life ‘beneficial owners’ of companies.
Legally speaking, a beneficial owner is the person who actually owns the company, trust or property even though title to it is in another name.
Why does this matter? Because keeping tabs on beneficial ownership is a vital safeguard against global kleptocracy and terrorism.
What is at stake are illicit outflows of billions of dollars from countries as far removed as Nicaragua, Nigeria and North Korea.