Public beneficial ownership registers are advancing anti-corruption efforts

Public registers of beneficial ownership were unthinkable a decade ago, but impact to date makes a strong case for global adoption.

In a timely news release - Out in the open: How public beneficial ownership registers advance anti-corruption Transparency International highlights examples of where law enforcement, journalists and civil society were able to access public information to investigate where the world’s rich and powerful have been offshoring their wealth.

The release states:

“Even though they haven’t been in place for more than a few years, there is growing evidence that public registers of beneficial ownership are important tools for advancing the fight against corruption, tax abuse and other financial crimes.”


“Examples from the UK and the EU show that beneficial ownership registers represent a trove of information for investigators, media and civil society. Beneficial ownership registers are the tool that can allow them to lift the veil of opacity and connect the dots. The resulting impact extends far beyond Europe, strengthening the case for public beneficial ownership registers to become the norm everywhere.”

Prior to the creation of beneficial ownership registers, exposés into hidden offshore wealth have relied on document leaks – often at a great risk to whistleblowers.

Five key areas where beneficial ownership records have already had an impact:

  1. Uncovering conflicts of interest
  2. Exposing high-level corruption
  3. Uncovering money laundering
  4. Enhancing law enforcement efforts
  5. Tracking unexplained wealth

Making public registers of beneficial ownership the global standard is an important tool for fighting corruption.

For more information see Out in the open: How public beneficial ownership registers advance anti-corruption and Five key fixes for ensuring that the new global standard on beneficial ownership transparency is effective.

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