Panama papers: TI renews call for outlawing of secret companies
Following the leak of the Panama Papers revealing the offshore holdings of many public officials, politicians and world leaders through secret entities, Transparency International (TI) has renewed calls for world leaders and the international community to outlaw secret companies.
The papers, a big leak of over 11 million documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm, reveal how several politicians and world leaders have used shell companies in tax havens to hide their wealth.
The documents were acquired by German Newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and relayed to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
According to the BBC and The Guardian in the UK, reporting partners actors of ICIJ in the leak, the documents implicate many including former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the late Muamamar Gaddafi of Libya, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sigmundur Gunnlaugson, the Prime Minister of Iceland, and a member of FiFA’s ethics committee.
The documents also show, the sons of former president John Agyekum Kufuor and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan held assets offshore.
Transparency International, in a statement issued today, April 4, said the G20 in particular, along with many other countries where the creation of secret companies is big business, need to make public beneficial ownership registers the global standard while applying sanctions to non-conforming jurisdictions.
“The G20 have supported measures to increase beneficial ownership transparency, but have done little to implement them,” the global anti-corruption body said.
“The Panama Papers investigation unmasks the dark side of the global financial system where banks, lawyers and financial professionals enable secret companies to hide illicit corrupt money. This must stop. World leaders must come together and ban the secret companies that fuel grand corruption and allow the corrupt to benefit from ill-gotten wealth,” José Ugaz, the chair of Transparency International said.
“How many more massive document leaks do world leaders need to see to understand that the lack of public registers of beneficial owners of companies is what keeps global grand corruption schemes alive and well?” Ugaz said.
By Emmanuel Odonkor