Press Release / Oct. 13, 2014

Global Witness welcomes appointment of anti-corruption champion Matthew Hancock

Global Witness welcomes the appointment of Matthew Hancock MP as the government’s new Anti-corruption Champion.

“It’s great news that the UK’s fight against global corruption has its own champion - it’s badly needed. Matthew Hancock’s to-do list is going to be a long one, said Global Witness Executive Director Gavin Hayman.

“The government has led on key issues, such as the abuse of anonymous shell companies in the past year, yet there is still much more to do to stop our banks, lawyers and estate agents rolling out the red carpet to the world’s corrupt.  This is where Mr Hancock must urgently focus attention.”

Mr Hancock’s appointment comes just months after the Queen outlined plans to create a public registry of the real owners of companies registered in Britain. Global Witness has been calling for such ground-breaking reforms for several years to stop the criminal and corrupt using anonymously owned companies as a legal smokescreen behind which to hide their activities. The new champion must focus on making sure all data is available to law enforcement and the wider public. 

In addition, there a number of areas which need urgent attention if the government is to deliver on its stated commitment to transparency, and stop corrupt dictators and their associates hiding stolen assets in the UK. 

These include:

  • Visa bans for corrupt individuals;   
  • Publicly available information who owns and controls the companies buying up UK properties;
  • Properly resourced, specialist anti-corruption agencies;
  • A co-ordinated national action plan to ensure effective interaction between those  agencies.

Global Witness is also calling for cross party support for the new Champion.


Oliver Courtney, +44 (0)7912 517147, [email protected]