Roger calls for Government action on shell companies
Twenty parliamentarians including Roger wrote to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills about the newly announced register of who really owns and controls anonymous shell companies.
Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption co-signed a letter calling on Minister Vince Cable to ensure his Department implements the register effectively. The Group is campaigning to end the use of anonymous shell companies which help corrupt foreign officials steal cash from developing countries, as well as helping individuals and organisations evade tax in the UK, funnel money to terrorists, break international sanctions and aid drugs smuggling. According to research by Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel, the amount sub-Saharan Africa loses in illicit financial flows is more than the total it receives in aid and direct foreign investment.
Roger has previously campaigned for the Government to take action on the one in five tax havens around the world which are under UK jurisdiction. He tabled an Early Day Motion calling on the Government to implement a publicly-accessible register on beneficial ownership to tackle the use of UK territories as tax havens. He commented: “Announcing the register is a good first step, but in order for it to be effective and help developing countries it needs to be rigorously enforced and fully transparent, not just a token gesture.”
The letter calls on Vince Cable to ensure that the registry, to be held at Companies House, requires individuals to submit sufficient information to create a unique identifier for every person listed, not just a name. The parliamentarians request that information be published as open data, that it should undergo verification through cross-checks with other UK registries, and that severe penalties should be levied against any company failing to comply.
Signed by parliamentarians from both the Commons and Lords, the letter is supported by members of all the major political parties. It is part of a broader package of work by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption highlighting the role of UK policy in facilitating major financial outflows from developing countries.