Transparency International Chair Huguette Labelle wrote a great article in The Huffington Post today. As the G20 meets in Los Cabos, Mexico today, world leaders will try and solve global issues. Financial transparency has always been on the agenda, but world leaders have at times struggled to act. Labelle writes,
At the November 2010 Seoul summit, the agreed plan covered a broad swath of action: from tackling financial crimes like money laundering and bribery, to improving protection for people exposed to reprisals if they blow the whistle on problems such as dodgy bank loans.
Importantly, the plan if implemented would bring badly needed improvements to regulation of the international financial system, with more transparent management of public finances, more transparency on financial vehicles, such as trusts, misused to conceal their true nature and their owners, better oversight of illicit cross border financial flows, stronger watchdogs and greater cooperation between officials. It would also help countries dealing with corruption, allowing faster recovery of stolen assets and sanctioning of corrupt officials.
The whole article is definitely worth reading, here.
Despite declaring that, “the era of banking secrecy is over”, the G20 has been slow to back up its words with action. Despite repeating in its statements all the way back to 2009 that tax havens and illicit financial flows harm developing and developed countries alike, the G20 has stopped short of implementing measures that would actually curtail them, like automatic exchange of tax information, country-by-country reporting, or increasing incorporation transparency through beneficial ownership.
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