Publishing information on the real owners of companies, also known as beneficial owners, can help governments curb corruption and support a more transparent environment for business. A session at the 4th International Collective Action Conference in Basel discussed how the new ‘Opening Extractives’ programme seeks to create new momentum for beneficial ownership transparency in a sector that has been prone to corruption risks.

Opening Extractives is a cross-sector partnership between the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and Open Ownership (OO), supported by the BHP Foundation. The five-year, USD 7 million programme aims to end the use of anonymous companies linked to corruption and mismanagement in the extractive sector.

Our recently released Basel AML Index 2021 highlights how slow and ineffective implementation of beneficial ownership registries continues to provide safe havens for dirty money.

We argue that this is damaging for individual jurisdictions, but more importantly undermines all global efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF). Excerpt from the full report:

Released today, the 10th annual edition of the Basel AML Index raises grave questions about whether jurisdictions are serious about tackling their money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) risks, and what is holding them back.

The Basel AML Index is an independent annual ranking that assesses ML/TF threats around the world and the capacity of jurisdictions’ anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures to address their specific risks.

What does the web of connections look like that underlies grand corruption and money laundering schemes and the abuse of offshore financial centres? Who are the people involved, how do they interact and what do they do?

And what insights can we draw by looking at complex corruption and money laundering schemes from the perspective of social networks, rather than solely individuals?

These questions are at the heart of a new analysis of the so-called Lava Jato or Odebrecht scandal that has engulfed Latin America.


Open Ownership

OpenOwnership's central goal is to build an open Global Beneficial Ownership Register which will serve as an authoritative source of data about who owns companies, for the benefit of all.

OpenOwnership will collect and link together beneficial ownership data sets from across the world as well as self-disclosed corporate data to enable companies and investors to more easily see who they are really doing business with. It will provide an opportunity for companies to distinguish themselves as leaders in transparency and openness by disclosing their own ownership on the platform.

The online ownership transparency platform provides a clear framework for companies wishing to commit to achieving ownership transparency. Primary users of the platform include a mix of SMEs, multinational businesses and civil society. The majority of commitments come from SMEs, often with a tech focus. The goals are to:

The project aims at designing a sound framework to avoid misuses and illegal practices, enhancing awareness in the business environment and among public institutions, promoting fair market conditions through clear and transparent procedures, and disseminating results to raise awareness on the issue.