Press release 01st Jun 2016

TI-UK response to comments by Roberto Saviano

Dominic Kavakeb 
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Speaking to The Independent newspaper, Transparency International UK gave the following response to claims by author Roberto Saviano that "Britain is the most corrupt place on earth". 

Rachel Davies, Head of UK Advocacy and Research Transparency International UK:

"It’s absolutely true that the UK is one of the leading financial centres for the laundering of corrupt money from overseas, whether through the property market, luxury goods or other sectors. Our research found that 36,000 London properties are owned through secretive offshore companies with little scrutiny over the source of wealth in those transactions. The UK has been a prime location for stashing away illicitly gained wealth, as anti-money laundering systems are weak and sectors such as UK property represent a safe investment, as well as a place to hide corrupt money.”

“The Prime Minister has taken steps to lead globally on fighting corruption, but it is vital that the UK has its own house in order too. Earlier this month when President Buhari was asked about the Prime Minister’s comments on Nigeria, he said that he didn’t want an apology but that he wanted action on stolen assets currently in the UK. It is vital that the Government takes action to end the UK’s role as a safe haven for corrupt money.”

“Following the London Anti-Corruption Summit in May there have been a number of positive commitments made by the Government to tackle this problem, including a public register of the ownership of foreign companies wishing to purchase property in the UK. This will make it much harder for the UK’s property market to be exploited by corrupt individuals, but it is vital that such commitments are turned into legislation, alongside the proposals to overhaul the UK’s anti-money laundering regime, and to enable law enforcement to act on unexplained wealth."

"There were a few areas to which the Summit didn’t extend – such as a commitment to extend transparency to the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies through the adoption of central, public registers of the true owners of companies. Furthermore, the UK needs to address domestic corruption risks in UK political institutions and local government, and ensure that law enforcement is adequately resourced to act on illicit flows and cases of British companies bribing overseas. The rhetoric has been promising, but now the words need to translate into strong action."


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