At the G8 Summit, David Cameron made clear that his personal ambition is to see the whole world move towards the public disclosure of who owns and controls companies. Such a move would represent a hugely important crack down on the use of anonymous shell companies by dodgy leaders and irresponsible business to stash their cash.
We hope that the Prime Minister will give us cause to celebrate when he kicks off the Open Government Partnership on Thursday morning. But, the G8 Communiqué didn’t just talk about anonymous shell companies. It also talked about trusts.
As the G8 Communiqué put it: “A lack of knowledge about who ultimately controls, owns and profits from companies and legal arrangements, including trusts, not only assists those who seek to evade tax, but also those who seek to launder the proceeds of crime, often across borders.”
To take action against anonymous shell companies, but to fail to take action against trusts would leave a big loophole for money launderers. And, with the G8 Communiqué already including a commitment to make information on who really owns and profits from companies and trusts available to tax collection and law enforcement agencies, silence on this issue would be disappointing and puzzling.
Tell leaders we want to see information about who owns companies AND trusts made public – sign our petition.