A summit dedicated to tackling corruption hosted by the British Prime Minister David Cameron in London yesterday culminated in international pledges to prepare and publish registers of who really owns companies in a collective effort to crack down on money laundering.
Before the beginning of the summit which was attended by representatives of approximately 50 countries, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Cameron announced that “foreign companies that already hold or want to buy property in the UK will be forced to reveal who really owns them” for the first time. According to official figures, this much anticipated action targets about 100,000 homes in England and Wales, including 44,000 people in London alone that are owned by offshore companies, the real owners of which are not known.
David Cameron’s office yesterday confirmed that France, the Netherlands, Nigeria and Afghanistan will join the British decision to publish public registers of the real owners of companies.
During the opening speech of the summit yesterday, Cameron compared corruption to “cancer” and said that it had been a “taboo subject at an international level” for a long time.
On his part, the American Secretary of State John Kerry said that “Corruption writ large is as much of an enemy, because it destroys nation-states, as some of the extremists we’re fighting or some of the other challenges that we have faced”. Kerry added that the United States has announced steps to improve the level of transparency “with respect to businesses that are registered” in all states of the United States.