The State of Play of Beneficial Ownership Registration: A Visual Overview
65 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2018
Date Written: June 27, 2018
Beneficial ownership transparency has become one of the leading tools to tackle illicit financial flows related to tax evasion, money laundering, corruption and terrorism finance. It involves identifying the “beneficial owners”, who are the individuals (natural persons) who ultimately own or control legal vehicles such as companies, partnerships, trusts or foundations that operate in the economy by opening bank accounts, holding real estate, or providing goods and services. Without beneficial ownership transparency, criminals are able to engage in illegal activities by hiding behind legal vehicles or nominees. Beneficial ownership transparency reveals who is behind an entity. This report, based on the Financial Secrecy Index, describes the state of play of both legal and beneficial ownership registration in more than 112 jurisdictions for four types of legal vehicles (companies, partnerships, trusts and private foundations). It describes the registration level in each country, and it also weighs the risks based on the number of registered vehicles. For example, if both country A and country B offer secretive companies, but one million companies have been created in country A while none have been created in country B, then the risk posed by country A is much worse in practice than that of country B.
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