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ECOFIN: ONE calls for full public access to all beneficial ownership information

BRUSSELS, 5 DECEMBER 2016. Europe Finance Ministers will gather in Brussels tomorrow, Tuesday 6 December, for the last ECOFIN chaired by the Slovak Presidency. The agenda includes discussions on the EU Anti-Money Laundering’s revision. As part of that, Member States will discuss the public disclosure of information about beneficial owners of companies and trusts.

Pressured by the Panama Papers scandal and the urgency to stop terrorist financing following recent attacks in Europe, the EU has to show it is committed to make a serious move against corruption.  ONE estimated that developing countries lose more than a trillion dollars every year due to illicit financial flows including money laundering and tax evasion. An EU move towards full transparency of those who really hide behind companies and trusts can no longer be delayed.

Valentina Barbagallo, Policy & Advocacy Manager at the ONE Campaign in Brussels, said:

“With more than a trillion dollars siphoned out of developing countries every year due to shady deals for natural resources, anonymous shell companies and illegal tax evasion, we expect the EU Finance Ministers to make a firm move towards real transparency.

Public disclosure of information about who really owns companies and trusts will allow citizens in poor countries to ensure anonymous shell companies are not used to launder away much-needed funds for development. We call on the Member States to strengthen the European Commission’s original proposal by ensuring full coverage of all legal entities to avoid unwanted loopholes.

While the world faces unprecedented challenges, the fight against illicit financial flows could help freeing much needed resources for those most in need.  We are counting on the EU Institutions to remove the last shade of grey in this key directive and make the registers for the beneficial owners of both companies and trusts fully public.”


Notes to editors:

Contact, information & interviews – Andrea Ghianda // [email protected] // +32 (0)2 300 89 42 // +32 (0)471 89 64 22


European Commission’s proposal amending Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing and amending Directive 2009/101/EC.


ABOUT ONE: ONE is an international campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 7 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Co-founded by Bono, ONE raises public awareness and works with political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency, so governments are accountable to their citizens.


Follow the Money. Explore stories from communities who have used open data to follow public money and change lives.

Trillion Dollar Scandal: The biggest heist you’ve never heard of. In 2014, ONE revealed a shocking scandal. Every year, more than a trillion dollars is siphoned out of developing countries.