When we came across Black Money Ops, a hidden object game, we knew we’d found a kindred spirit in Agent Banks! Black Money Ops is a game that challenges the player to find the links between a terrorist and the companies that have been illegally funding arms sales. Working through the levels by finding incriminating documents and using clues to crack safes and security systems, Black Money Ops shows how difficult it is to make the connections between criminals and the anonymous companies that do their dirty work.
The scenario played out in the game is shockingly similar to the stories we’ve been telling to explain the importance of our Stash the Cash campaign. Launched this month in the UK, France and EU, ONE members have been pressuring leaders to commit to making public registers of companies, to shed light on their owners, allowing law enforcement and citizens to hold companies and their owners to account for their actions.
This level was particularly difficult… Hint: It has a lot to do with keys.
Just like in real life, it’s not easy to connect the dots between the criminal and the anonymous company that’s being used to finance their activities and launder their ill-gotten gains. But once you connect the dots, it’s obvious that Phantom Firms are robbing developing countries of much needed resources – money that could be used for health, agriculture or education programs. Check out this example from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where whilst nearly 9 of 10 people live on less than $1.25 per day, $1.36 billion was lost in five dodgy deals.
Black Money Ops takes you through the steps it would take to draw a line between a criminal and the company used to fund their illegal activity, and you find yourself in some pretty compromising positions. After cracking a hotel’s safe and breaking and entering into a terrorist’s villa, it occurred to me that in uncovering illegal activity, I had become a criminal myself! This is not just a game. The secrecy around who owns companies and trusts makes it incredibly difficult for citizens and law enforcement to root out corruption and help stem the flow of resources lost to dodgy deals. That’s why we have to put an end to Phantom Firms by making information about who owns and controls companies and trusts public.
Just like in the game, there’s more to do! Sign our petition to tell European Leaders to fight Phantom Firms and stay tuned for news of our next moves in the Stash-the-Cash campaign!