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One battle won in the fight against phantom firms

The ONE Campaign welcomes today’s vote in the European Parliament to make information on who owns companies and trusts public – benefitting rich and poor countries alike. Committees in the European parliament voted on the Anti-Money Laundering Directive, marking a positive step in the fight against global corruption.

Eloise Todd, International Advocacy Director at ONE said:

“Members of the European Parliament should be congratulated on taking a huge step forward in the fight against the drug traffickers, arms dealers and people smugglers that launder money. Money that could be spent on lifesaving health interventions or economy boosting agriculture by governments the world over is all too often siphoned across borders using phantom firms. Until now, the law has prevented us from knowing who owns businesses and trusts, making it all but impossible to track money meant for government coffers.

“Shining a light on this murky world will change that. Citizens and law enforcement authorities will be able to access information and follow the money from corrupt and criminal activity. This is a clear choice for openness over secrecy which must now be embraced by the Council. Many countries are lining up behind full transparency for beneficial owners of companies and trusts – they need to cross the finish line. The spotlight is now on Member State governments to speak out in support of the Parliament’s position and finalise this law under the Greek presidency.”


For more information please contact Asha Tharoor in the press office on 020 7434 7554 or [email protected]

Notes to Editors

1. The European Parliament’s Committee on Economic monetary Affairs and Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice & Home Affairs voted jointly on this directive today.

2. The EU’s Council of Ministers will discuss the anti-money laundering directive in a working group meeting on 25 February – once the Council has established its position the European Council will undertake trialogue negotiations to decide on the final law

3. Making information public about who owns and controls companies and trusts will:

  • Give citizens and journalists in developing countries access to the data they need to follow the money and root out corruption;
  • Help to improve data quality by enabling more people to scrutinise the data, and identify, check and correct inaccuracies;
  • Enable banks and other financial institutions to perform due diligence more effectively;
  • Ensure that businesses know who they are doing business with; and
  • Contribute to more effective law enforcement – investigations, prosecutions and the return of stolen assets.

4. About ONE – ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 3.5 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Cofounded by Bono and strictly nonpartisan, we raise public awareness and work with political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programs. ONE is not a grant-making organization and does not solicit funding from the public or receive government funding. ONE is funded almost entirely by a handful of philanthropists and foundations. We achieve change through advocacy. Our teams in Washington, D.C., London, Johannesburg, Brussels, Berlin, and Paris educate and lobby governments to shape policy solutions that save and improve millions of lives. To learn more, go to ONE.org