Click here to help us improve the Global Witness site by taking part in our brief survey.

News and reports

“The Great Rip Off” shows range of crimes hidden by companies set up in U.S. Owners of anonymous companies registered in U.S. states are ripping off innocent people and businesses across America, says a new report by... read more
According to a Spanish prosecutor’s document, Lionel Messi’s alleged multi-million euro tax evasion scheme (1)relied upon hiding the names of the real owners of companies registered in the UK, Switzerland, Uruguay... read more
Efforts to recover stolen assets from the Ukraine need to paired with proactive steps to stop banks enabling state looting, said Global Witness as the international community gathers in London for  the Ukraine... read more
Today two key committees of the European Parliament voted in favour of creating public registries of who ultimately owns and controls companies and trusts registered in the EU, in a move welcomed by Global Witness... read more
Some of the world’s most infamous secrecy jurisdictions, such as the British Virgin Islands and Jersey are considering becoming more transparent, whereas several G8 countries lag behind, said campaigners today.  A... read more
David Cameron will pledge today to make public the names of who actually owns and controls British companies, in a move applauded by Global Witness which has been campaigning on this issue for many years. This will make... read more
The UK government must use the Open Government Partnership summit in London next week to end the secrecy surrounding who really owns millions of UK companies, campaigners said today. Discussions are underway right now... read more
Global Witness applauds Representatives Waters (D-CA) and Maloney (D-NY), who later today will introduce two pieces of legislation that would make it much harder for the corrupt and other criminals to misuse American... read more
Kofi Annan, Chair of the Africa Progress Panel, gave a speech at the Graduate Institute in Geneva last week, which highlighted the benefits of mandatory transparency rules for the hundreds of billions of dollars that... read more
At the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, Prime Minister David Cameron committed the UK to creating a central registry of the ultimate - beneficial - owners of all UK companies. He also promised a consultation on whether... read more
Global Witness applauds Senators Levin (D-MI), Grassley (R-IA), Feinstein (D-CA) and Harkin (D-IA) for introducing legislation that would make it much harder for the corrupt and other criminals to misuse American... read more
Global Witness is collating the action plans as they are published. Read our summaries of the plans.  Read more on Global Witness' reaction to the G8 The G8 has started a rollback in corporate secrecy by beginning... read more
The UK Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories have announced that they will produce action plans to ensure that they meet the international standards on beneficial ownership transparency.  Gavin Hayman,... read more
For immediate release:  14 June 2013  An unprecedented move by the UK to end secret company ownership could prevent corruption and crime and significantly boost the development prospects of poor countries and... read more
More on the G8 - click here. G8 leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to roll back the frontiers of corporate secrecy and put a stop to the use of shell companies by money launderers, corrupt politicians, drug... read more
“The Great Rip Off” shows range of crimes hidden by companies set up in U.S. Owners of anonymous companies registered in U.S. states are ripping off innocent people and businesses across America, says a new report by... read more
According to a Spanish prosecutor’s document, Lionel Messi’s alleged multi-million euro tax evasion scheme (1)relied upon hiding the names of the real owners of companies registered in the UK, Switzerland, Uruguay... read more
Efforts to recover stolen assets from the Ukraine need to paired with proactive steps to stop banks enabling state looting, said Global Witness as the international community gathers in London for  the Ukraine... read more
Today two key committees of the European Parliament voted in favour of creating public registries of who ultimately owns and controls companies and trusts registered in the EU, in a move welcomed by Global Witness... read more
Some of the world’s most infamous secrecy jurisdictions, such as the British Virgin Islands and Jersey are considering becoming more transparent, whereas several G8 countries lag behind, said campaigners today.  A... read more
David Cameron will pledge today to make public the names of who actually owns and controls British companies, in a move applauded by Global Witness which has been campaigning on this issue for many years. This will make... read more
The UK government must use the Open Government Partnership summit in London next week to end the secrecy surrounding who really owns millions of UK companies, campaigners said today. Discussions are underway right now... read more
Global Witness applauds Representatives Waters (D-CA) and Maloney (D-NY), who later today will introduce two pieces of legislation that would make it much harder for the corrupt and other criminals to misuse American... read more
Global Witness applauds Senators Levin (D-MI), Grassley (R-IA), Feinstein (D-CA) and Harkin (D-IA) for introducing legislation that would make it much harder for the corrupt and other criminals to misuse American... read more
Global Witness is collating the action plans as they are published. Read our summaries of the plans.  Read more on Global Witness' reaction to the G8 The G8 has started a rollback in corporate secrecy by beginning... read more
The UK Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories have announced that they will produce action plans to ensure that they meet the international standards on beneficial ownership transparency.  Gavin Hayman,... read more
For immediate release:  14 June 2013  An unprecedented move by the UK to end secret company ownership could prevent corruption and crime and significantly boost the development prospects of poor countries and... read more
More on the G8 - click here. G8 leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to roll back the frontiers of corporate secrecy and put a stop to the use of shell companies by money launderers, corrupt politicians, drug... read more
14.06.2013 | G8 2013
Leaders of the G8 countries will gather in Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland between 17–18 June 2013 for the 39th G8 summit. In January this year David Cameron announced that trade, tax and transparency... read more
A group of public prosecutors and corruption hunters have written to G8 leaders calling on them to tackle shell companies and money laundering. For more information see Global Witness' brieifing on Anonymous Companies... read more
At the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, Prime Minister David Cameron committed the UK to creating a central registry of the ultimate - beneficial - owners of all UK companies. He also promised a consultation on whether... read more
French and German versions below. Money launderers, corrupt politicians, terrorists, arms traffickers, drug smugglers, and tax evaders all rely on two things to move their dirty money: company structures that allow them... read more
There have been two cost/benefit analyses carried out looking at the costs of a beneficial ownership registry: one done by the UK in 2002 and one done by the European Commission in 2007. Both concluded that public... read more
Click here to read the press release HSBC has bankrolled logging companies causing widespread environmental destruction and human rights abuses in Sarawak, Malaysia, violating its sustainability policies and earning... read more
17.06.2012 | Grave Secrecy
简体中文 (Chinese press release) Совершенно секретно (Russian language version) Өтө жашыруун (Kyrgyz language version) Read the Press Release Grave Secrecy was published in June 2012. It reveals evidence... read more
This paper puts forward some ideas for how the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the body that sets the global standards designed to curb financial crime, can ensure that these standards are actually implemented... read more
Organisations representing over 1000 civil society groups have written to the EU calling on it to establish a new standard for company ownership transparency. NGO coalitions including Publish What You Pay, the UN... read more
Global Witness' response to an International Development Select Committee Inquiry on Tax and Development. Our response highlights the need for disclosure of revenue payments in the extractive sector and for more... read more
Civil society submission to G20 anti-corruption working group, February 2012 read more
This submission focuses on the role of the financial sector of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in facilitating a possible loss in value of billions of dollars from state mining assets in the Democratic Republic of... read more
New research published by the Tax Justice Network shows that tax evasion costs 145 countries, representing over 98% of world GDP, more than US$3.1 trillion annually. In the UK for instance, a staggering £69.9 billion a... read more
This submission is in response to the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) consultation, The Review of Standards – Preparation for the 4th Round of Mutual Evaluations: Second public consultation. It follows on from the... read more
Global Witness and a number of other civil society organisations are deeply concerned about the UK government's proposal to water down the anti-money laundering regulations. This submission lays out in detail our... read more
Global Witness, along with over 400 other civil society groups, have written to the G20's anti-corruption working group outlining their priorities for the upcoming Cannes G20 summit. This follows on from a previous... read more
For over a decade, Global Witness has targeted policy-makers, international organisations, regulators and the banks themselves in an effort to make it harder for corrupt politicians to stash loot in foreign bank... read more
Kofi Annan, Chair of the Africa Progress Panel, gave a speech at the Graduate Institute in Geneva last week, which highlighted the benefits of mandatory transparency rules for the hundreds of billions of dollars that... read more
By Porter McConnell - Manager of the Financial Transparency Coalition. When the Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development was created in 2009, only a handful of experts were following the issue of... read more
Britain‘s G8 presidency a chance to reframe the poverty debate It’s always encouraging to see our leaders pushing the right line for a change. Outlining his agenda for the G8 at the World Economic Forum in Davos... read more
Rosie Sharpe, Senior campaigner, Global Witness Investigations carried out by the Guardian, ICIJ and the BBC's Panorama programme into the ease with which anonymous shell companies can be used to move dirty money... read more
Originally posted on the Taskforce on Financial Integrity’s website here. By Rosie Sharp Rosie Sharp is a Senior Campaigner for Global Witness, a member of the Task Force Coordinating Committee. You’re a criminal and... read more
This post first appeared on Freedom House's Freedom at Issue blog.      Corrupt dictators who take bribes and loot their treasuries are rightly condemned by governments and other observers in developed... read more
This article was published in the Financial Times on 24th February 2011. Read press advisory on this issue. Don't make it easier for dictators to steal By Anthea Lawson, head of Kleptocracy campaign The world may... read more
Read this blog on Huffington Post. When governments around the world are taking measures in support of fiscal austerity, foreign assistance is always a prime target for the chopping block. Bravely, some governments,... read more
This piece first ran on the Guardian website. The rich world has been busy tightening its belt in recent weeks, with Britain, Germany and Spain all announcing the severest economic cuts in generations and... read more
Clariden Leu AG, with roots that make it Switzerland's oldest private bank, has begun telling certain U.S. customers suspected of offshore tax evasion that it will disclose their names to the U.S. Internal Revenue... read more
Officials working with Libya's new governing authority are examining whether any payments made by Société Générale SA as part of its business relationship with the Libyan Investment Authority ended up in the hands of... read more
An international financial crime watchdog has been urged not to relax its stance on monitoring political officials in the light of the desperate scramble to freeze the assets of deposed leaders in the Middle East and... read more
Today The Economist came out in support of the campaign “to put a stop to hidden company ownership and to make energy and mining companies disclose more about the payments they make to win concessions.” Global Witness... read more
Rosie Sharpe, Senior campaigner, Global Witness Investigations carried out by the Guardian, ICIJ and the BBC's Panorama programme into the ease with which anonymous shell companies can be used to move dirty money... read more
Rob Walker of the BBC Assignment team investigates what’s happened to billions of dollars in oil revenues paid to the government of Equatorial Guinea since it's oil boom in the 1990s. Anthea Lawson from Global... read more
Global Witness has long campaigned for companies to come clean about who actually owns them. In most countries in the world individuals can legally disguise their identities and their assets behind anonymous shell... read more
This op-ed appeared in the International Herald Tribune The Stolen Money Trail By Anthea Lawson Earlier this month, Swiss bank regulators found that four Swiss banks had not done enough to identify dictators’ assets... read more
The London-based anti-corruption campaign group, Global Witness, said it has evidence that Teodorin Obiang, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of the tiny West African state of Equatorial Guinea, has plans to... read more
This article was published in the Financial Times on 24th February 2011. Read press advisory on this issue. Don't make it easier for dictators to steal By Anthea Lawson, head of Kleptocracy campaign The world may... read more
A U.S. diplomat called Equatorial Guinea's dictator of 31 years one of "the good guys" in leaked diplomatic cables urging Washington to engage with its third largest oil supplier or risk endangering energy security,... read more
Kazakhstan's septuagenerian President Nursultan Nazarbayev has brought over 50 businessmen on a three day visit to the EU that is to see the European Investment Bank (EIB) open a €1.5 billion credit line to help fund... read more