The naive belief that transparency of beneficial owners helps fight crime is also propagated by the G7, the group of seven most powerful western countries, currently with Germany as chairman. G7 fails to recognise that the openness of registers of beneficial owners is a danger to the national security of countries and a source of information for criminals and for states with less than good intentions.
Read the G7 Leaders’ Communiqué of 28 June with the usual anti-money laundering (‘AML’) and anti terrorist financing (‘CFT’) marketing texts:
Corruption and related illicit finance and proceeds of crime drain public resources, can often fuel organised crime, enable kleptocratic systems to accumulate wealth and power at the expense of citizens, undermine democratic governance. The Russian war against Ukraine has highlighted how kleptocracies pose an immediate threat to the freedom and national security of our societies. In order to defend the integrity and transparency of democratic systems, we will continue to step up our fight against corruption in all relevant bodies, and accelerate work on implementing and strengthening our beneficial ownership transparency registers, including by improving their accuracy, adequacy, and timeliness. In this regard, we also welcome the recently strengthened standards on beneficial ownership transparency of legal persons by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and look forward to their swift implementation. To hold kleptocrats, criminals and their enablers to account globally, we will broaden our global fight against cross-border corruption, including by supporting African partners in setting up 15 additional beneficial ownership registers. Also, building on the work of the Russia Elites Proxies and Oligarchs Task Force, we will further intensify our cooperation and ask the Task Force to report back to us by the end of the year on potential additional measures to be taken.
It shows that in the fight against money laundering the data protection rights of the large group of citizens who have been declared ‘beneficial owners’ [*] must give way to the interests of crime detection and that the collateral damage caused to the beneficial owners is accepted by policy makers.
[*] The beneficial owner in AML/CFT not only includes persons with economic interest in an entity. It may also include managers of not-for-profit organisations and many others without economic interest or real influence. It is an indecent concept that unnecessarily causes the disclosure of personal data of large numbers of decent citizens .
More information: the G7 documents.