Just as the EU is enters the final stages of negotiations to decide whether anonymous trusts and shell companies should be banned, the Laundromat scandal reveals why member states have the duty to ensure greater transparency. Yesterday, I wrote in the Independent about the need for transparency on corporate registries, beneficial ownership, and trusts.
Whether it is tax fraud, corruption or money laundering – the common link is anonymous companies. Company data continues to be one of the least open datasets in the world.
As the leader of G20, Germany had the opportunity to demonstrate leadership in sticking to its word and publishing a public register. It would have been a significant step for a country that has been long seen as a blocker in corporate transparency in Europe, and which scores just 20 out of 100 in the Open Company Data Index. However, under pressure from the powerful ‘family business’ lobby over unsubstantiated claims of ‘personal security’– have now backtracked these measures and opted for one that operated under ‘legitimate interest’.
Want to read more? Read and share my opinion piece in the Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/global-laundromat-money-laundering-panama-papers-more-scandals-a7644481.html#commentsDiv