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Offshore Showing 'Exemplary Leadership' On Transparency: UK

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
17 May, 2016

Political leaders from around the world attended an anti-corruption summit last week in London hosted by the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron.

The summit was the first of its kind, bringing together world leaders, business representatives, and civil society organizations to agree a package of practical steps to expose corruption, punish perpetrators, support those affected by corruption, and drive out the culture of corruption.

The meeting was scheduled after the leak of the so-called Panama Papers, which contained information on the tax planning arrangements of several high-profile individuals.

More than forty countries attended the summit with six countries (Afghanistan, France, Kenya, the Netherlands, Nigeria, and the UK) agreeing to publish information on registries about who owns and controls companies.

A number of Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories of the UK attended.

A communique signed by those in attendance said tackling corruption at home and abroad is a top priority. The signatories made a number of commitments including ensuring corruption does not "fester" in government institutions, businesses, and communities; uncovering corruption wherever it exists; and pursuing and punishing those who perpetrate, facilitate, or are complicit in corruption.

The signatories also said they would make it easier for people to report suspected acts of corruption, and to support communities that have suffered from it.

In addition to the communique, individual statements were issued by over forty countries specifying the concrete actions they will take to tackle corruption.

In drawing the summit to a close, Prime Minister Cameron praised the British Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories saying: "All of them have committed to having registers of beneficial ownership and crucially most of them now have committed to the automatic exchange of information and automatically sharing those registers of beneficial ownership with other countries. That puts them ahead of many developed countries and even states inside the United States of America in terms of what they are prepared to do."

"They've been an easy target for the press, campaigners, and other countries in the past" but it is "quite difficult to do that now because they have raised their game to the extent that the OECD has said they have shown exemplary leadership."

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