- Unmask the Corrupt is a global campaign initiated by Transparency International. The three main focus areas of the campaign are beneficial ownership, luxury goods and denial of entry. Keep up-to-date with activities and initiatives to end impunity across the world
If you bribe and steal your way to riches, it’s not surprising you would want to hide your money. All you need is a secret company – or shell company – where the name of the real owner is hidden. It takes just 10 minutes, an internet connection and a credit card to get started, no questions asked.
Once the secret company is set up, you can open bank accounts. No one will know where the money came from. It doesn’t matter if it was stolen from a country’s health or education budget and whether people suffer as a result. You can now buy luxury properties, yachts and cars.
So how do we put a stop to this? It’s no secret that corrupt politicians and other criminals use secret companies. So why don’t governments demand to know who really owns them? In the US state of Delaware, for example, there’s a building that is home to 285,000 separate companies. Are these all real businesses?
The corrupt should be brought to justice and punished. Citizens have a right to know who’s cheating the system. We want the leaders of the world’s biggest economies – the G20 – to publish lists of the real owners of all companies, and to make it harder for the corrupt to travel internationally and enjoy their ill-gotten gains.