charmian TED

Briefing / March 3, 2014

The TED Prize

“My wish is for us to know who owns and controls companies so they can no longer be used anonymously against the public good” - Charmian Gooch.

Global Witness’s Co-Founder and Director, Charmian Gooch, made this wish when accepting the 2014 TED Prize in Vancouver. Watch the whole thing here: 

Charmian and Global Witness are calling for governments around the world to pass laws to create registries which list the true owners of companies, and that are open to the public - with no loopholes. At the moment, anonymous companies are aiding and abetting tax evaders, drugs cartels, and arms trders, and helping keep millions of poor people around the world permanently stuck in desperate poverty. It is easy and legal for criminals to set up an anonymous company, and then use it to hide their identity.

Charmian Chris
"We are thrilled to award Charmian Gooch the 2014 TED Prize and further Global Witness’s ongoing work to challenge global corruption. As a pro-business entrepreneur, I am thrilled to see this year’s prize being used to make business more transparent." Chris Anderson, TED Curator

This problem is not just about companies, either – that’s just one of the hidden ways in which the global financial system facilitates corruption and other problems. Charmian set out that story in her first TED Talk in 2013, using lots of real life examples to show how corruption “over there” is a problem incubated in the world’s major financial centres.


Since its launch, the campaign to launch a new era of openness in business by ending anonymous companies has gathered global momentum. In April 2014 the UK government announced its plans for creating a registry of the real owners of companies, and agreed new rules requiring member states to do the same. We’re now pushing for similar measures in the U.S. and have won board support from law enforcement and business leaders including Richard Branson, Mo Ibrahim and Arianna Huffington. 

For a one minute intro into what the problem is, watch our animation below and visit our Facebook page join the movement to end anonymous companies. 



Join the movement to end company secrecy