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Calls have been made for a global register of assets to combat financial wrongdoing

Author: Niall Hearty  14 June 2022

Posted in: Bribery & Corruption.

Niall Hearty of financial crime specialists Rahman Ravelli considers the issues involved.

Arguments for a global asset registry have been put forward in a bid to tackle corruption and tax abuse.

The idea of a registry was the subject of an event organised by the Tax Justice Network, an organisation which is committed to reform of the tax and financial systems to protect democracy and reduce corruption.

The Network argues that the ability of people to hold wealth anonymously is central to spiralling wealth inequality and – as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shown – an obstacle to sanctions being effective.

It believes a global asset registry would increase transparency regarding offshore assets and provide a basis for the more effective identification and taxation of wealth. This would go some way, it believes, to “meet pressing global urgencies with global tax progress’’.

Such a registry would, according to the Network, be a major indicator of the increasing awareness of the need for an international standard of public beneficial ownership information for property, companies, trusts and other legal vehicles.

The 2016 Panama Papers, followed by the 2017 Paradise Papers and last year’s Pandora Papers, revealed the extent of hidden ownership of offshore companies and secret bank accounts. This, unsurprisingly, has led to arguments being made for there to be greater transparency regarding wealth. The calls for a global asset registry can be seen as part of this.

Such a registry would be a very ambitious project, and one that could take a great deal of effort to introduce and maintain. But in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine - and the subsequent sanctions on the Russian government and its enablers - the idea of a registry may now have more supporters.

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Niall has a wealth of corporate crime expertise and an ability to coordinate global bribery and corruption cases. His achievements in such investigations have made him a logical choice for corporate clients.

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