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Information sharing between UK and its offshore jurisdictions highlights need for publicly accessibly company ownership information

27th June 2019, London – Today the Home Office published its first report into the effectiveness of company ownership information sharing arrangements between the UK, its Overseas Territories and the British Crown Dependencies. The report shows that the arrangements are working but highlights the pressing need for this information to be publicly available to help expose high level corruption and money laundering.

Duncan Hames, Director of Policy Transparency International UK, said:

“We welcome the co-operation UK authorities have received from British Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies, and the openness that publication of this report offers. However, the extent of information shared following the commitments made by Britain’s offshore financial centres three years ago, only amounts to a small part of the full picture of criminality that may be hidden on their shores. Our research has found 1,201 companies based in the UK’s Overseas Territories were involved in 237 different cases of corruption and associated money laundering over the past three decades, many of which have only been exposed due to leaks and subsequent investigations by journalists and NGOs. Until the UK’s Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies publish their company registers and ownership information, civil society and journalists will be hamstrung in their efforts to uncover corruption and money laundering aided by companies incorporated in these jurisdictions.

“The UK has illustrated the utility of public corporate data, with over 2 billion searches of Companies House between 2017 and 2018 alone. Public access to UK company data has enabled us to identify thousands of firms we have reasonable grounds to suspect are involved in financial crime and which merit further scrutiny, yet we know next to nothing about those incorporated in places like the British Virgin Islands. Without urgency in opening-up the registers of Britain’s offshore financial centres to public scrutiny, financial crime and the global harm it causes will continue to go undetected and unchallenged.”

***ENDS***

Contact:

Press Office
Email: press@transparency.org.uk
+44 (0)20 3096 7695
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Read 165 times Last modified on Friday, 28 June 2019 10:38

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