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NGOs call for disclosure of beneficial ownership of companies

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Organisations representing ‘over 1,000 civil society groups’ have called for a new standard requiring companies to disclose publicly their ultimate or beneficial owner.

Global Witness announced that in a letter to Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, NGOs including Publish What You Pay and the Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development – whose co-ordinating committee includes Global Witness, Christian Aid and Transparency International – said civil society had ‘seen repeatedly how obscure company ownership structures have facilitated corruption, money laundering, tax evasion, environmental damage, terrorism and other crimes’.

Jesse Griffiths, Director of Eurodad, which co-sponsored the letter, said: ‘Privacy alone is never going to be enough of a reason to trump transparency of corporate ownership, which has the potential to greatly improve the lives of the world’s poor by curbing money laundering, tax evasion and terrorist financing in the EU and abroad.’