Yesterday, the governments of the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy announced their law enforcement agencies will automatically share information on the people who own and control companies with each other.
Rachel Owens, Senior Campaigner at Global Witness, said: “The more sharing of beneficial ownership information that goes on, the better. Nonetheless, this is only a small step in the right direction.
"If we are to stop the rampant tax evasion, money laundering and crime we saw exposed through the Panama Papers, it is critical that these company registers are fully public – to deter those with something to hide and to ensure companies are fully held to account. It’s the gold standard David Cameron has insisted on in mainland UK.
"It is essential that this information is made public in the UK’s tax havens as well. They were not covered by yesterday’s announcement, even though they have been used to register over half of the companies exposed in the Panama leak. While our tax havens operate behind closed doors they will continue to sell secrecy to the world’s corrupt, undermining positive steps such as these being taken in mainland UK and across the G5. David Cameron has the legal powers to require the UK’s tax havens to open up, and he must show his leadership in the fight against corruption by doing just that, at the landmark Anti-Corruption Summit he is hosting next month.”
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