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Commentary: Paradise Papers must compel governments to urgently address corporate secrecy

Author: Tutu Alicante, Euractiv, Published on: 15 November 2017

"Paradise Papers highlight the link between grand-scale corruption and poverty", 14 Nov 2017

A French court’s decision on 27 October to convict (in abstentia)... the vice-president of Equatorial Guinea... for embezzling his government out of tens of millions of euros and laundering the proceeds in France was a significant symbolic moment in the global fight against grand corruption.

...The Paradise Papers...highlight the scale of global financial secrecy and the many ways it enables actions that are detrimental to ordinary citizens in both the Global North and South.

...The Teodorin case illustrates how grand corruption hurts the world’s poorest....

...Meanwhile 75% of the people in my country – oil-rich Equatorial Guinea – live in poverty, many without reliable access to quality healthcare, education, sanitation, or electricity.

...[T]he Teodorin case highlights the degree to which corrupt officials in poor countries rely on enablers in the Global North to help launder, hide, and spend their stolen loot.

... Judgments like this are a step in the right direction, but to be more than symbolic they must be accompanied by effective action from the international community that prevents the abuse of the global financial system in the first place....Governments around the world should require that the true ownership of companies – as well as trusts, whose secrecy also makes them easy vehicles for corruption – be publicly available, so that citizens can see who controls them....The European Union is currently considering regulations that could do just that. ...

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