Transparency International: G20 failing on corruption | News | DW | 12.11.2015
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Transparency International: G20 failing on corruption

Corporate corruption is still prevalent in rich Group of 20 nations despite their pledges last year to close loopholes, according to Transparency International. It has listed Brazil, China and the US among the offenders.

Transparency International on Thursday labeled this weekend's G20 summit in Turkey as a mere "photo opportunity," saying the group had largely failed to stop "dirty" money laundering worth $2 trillion (1.86 trillion euros) every year.

Fifteen of the G20 nations had not instituted adequate controls despite their leaders adopting so-called High Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership at their summit last year in Brisbane, said Transparency Internatinal, a Berlin-based non-government organization.

"To avoid looking little more than a talk shop, they must keep their promises - including on tackling corruption, said Cobus de Swardt, Transparency International's managing director.

Transparecy's anti-corruption report entitled "Just for show," published Thursday, said overall compliance was "poor."

As examples, it cited scandals tainting Brazil's Petrobras, world soccer governing body FIFA and Ukraine's ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, who left behind documents showing a life lived in luxury.

Since last year's Brisbane summit, legal mechanisms should have been implemented by G20 member to foil the tendency of anonymous entities to "shift and hide stolen money," Transparency said.

Verification of real identities 'difficult'

Great Britain and India have demanded records showing the real identities of individuals behind wealth transfers. But, offshore, in the British Caymann and Virgin islands "verification of data is extremely difficult."

"In seven G20 countries real estate agents don't need to identify the real people who are behind the sales and purchases of property, making it incredibly difficult to stop a corrupt politician buying a luxury home with money stolen from taxpapers," said Transparency.

Banks were still completing transactions even if they did not know the identity of the true person, the NGO said, adding that hundreds of billions of dollars of property in London and New York have secret owners.

Central registries

Transparency demanded that such owners be listed in central registries to ensure that governments were not helping the corrupt "get away with it."

Its report includes individual summaries for each G20 member nation.

G20 summit host Turkey has said tax evasion will be on the agenda of the summit November 15-16 in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya.

The gathering is set to be dominated by the conflict in Syria and the Meditarrean migrant crisis.

Switzerland on Wednesday adopted new "due diligence" rules to clamp down of money laundering for traders handling more than 100,000 Swiss francs (92,600 euros) when they accept cash payments.

The rules are due to come into effect at the start of next year.

ipj/sms (AFP, Reuters)

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