October 7, 2021: The United Nations Coalition against Corruption (UNCAC), which consists of civil society members from across the world, has called for the implementation and monitoring of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The statement of the network is as below:
“The Pandora Papers – considered the biggest leak of financial data in history – have revealed once again how the rich and powerful hide billions of dollars in tax havens around the world. Up to 35 world leaders, including current and former presidents and prime ministers, as well as 300 public officials, have been exposed to use secretive networks of shell companies and trust funds to conceal their ownership of luxury villas, yachts, bank accounts, and company shares.
These revelations are shocking but sadly come as no surprise. The perpetrators were aided by consultants, lawyers, and accountants. Furthermore, inadequate measures to ensure transparency and accountability have allowed those in positions of power to easily hide their often ill-gotten wealth and vested interests from public scrutiny, enabling corruption to strive.
Important tools to tackle secretive company structures we have been advocating for include:
full public access to company ownership information, including on the ultimate beneficiaries of legal entities, through public registries, full disclosure of government contracts and information on all stages of contract implementation, and mandatory and comprehensive public disclosure of assets and financial interests of public officials, paired with independent oversight and effective sanctioning mechanisms.
It is thus essential that States take decisive steps and advance the transparency and anti-corruption commitments they made in the UNGASS Political Declaration, including by adopting strong resolutions at the UNCAC Conference of States Parties (CoSP) in December.
As governmental experts from around the world met in Vienna (and virtually) last month for the 12th resumed session of the UNCAC Implementation Review Group (IRG), we at the UNCAC Coalition discussed with delegates how States should move forward on UNCAC implementation, asset recovery and beneficial ownership transparency.”