With greater financial transparency we can close the loopholes that allow people to hide crime and corruption
Australia is a major destination of the world’s dirty money. Much of this dirty money flows out of poorer countries, and into the economies of wealthy countries. This robs local people of their national wealth and can distort markets where it ends up – such as real estate.
Our laws against foreign bribery and money laundering have loopholes that enable people to hide corruption and the proceeds of crime. Meanwhile, the lack of transparency over company ownership makes it too easy to set up shell companies and hide money flows.
Australia can stop the flow of dirty money by strengthening our laws to better prevent, detect and stop dirty money from crime and corruption.
Close the loopholes on money laundering
We need to close the gaps in our laws so that real estate agents, lawyers, corporate service providers and accountants do proper due diligence and report suspicious transactions.
Prevent, detect and prosecute foreign bribery
We need to stop allowing ‘facilitation payments’ and establish better detection methods to assist law enforcement.
Lift the veil on secret corporate owners
We need a centralised, publicly accessible register of beneficial ownership so that people who own or control companies can’t hide their identity.
Bribery is one of the most direct and damaging forms of corruption worldwide. It is a threat to democracy and the rule of law, and it’s a major obstacle to fair economic development in poorer countries.
Foreign bribery can also fly under the radar because it’s very difficult to detect and our investigative and enforcement agencies are not sufficiently equipped to go after individuals.
We can make foreign bribery easier to detect and prosecute through some amendments to our laws, and with the cooperation of companies developing robust anti-bribery plans and reporting requirements.
Transparency International’s latest foreign bribery report, Exporting Corruption, finds most countries are not doing enough
The latest foreign bribery assessment finds most of the world’s top exporting countries are not doing enough to stop foreign bribery, and many are sliding backwards.
The research finds Australia also continues to lag in efforts to stop foreign bribery.
Australia is a major destination of the world’s dirty money. Much of this dirty money is flowing out of poorer countries, and into the economies of wealthy countries.
Money laundering is a crime, but there are gaps in our laws that make it too easy for criminals to fly under the radar.
We need to close the gaps in our anti-money laundering laws so that real estate agents, lawyers, corporate service providers and accountants – professions that are more likely to encounter illicit money – do proper due diligence and report suspicious transactions.
BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP & DUE DILIGENCE
When company ownership information is not accessible in a central and credible place, it’s hard to do adequate due diligence.
This leads to a culture of anonymous shell companies, makes it hard to research risks, track relationships, find conflicts of interest and detect corruption.
Australia is now rolling out a centralised corporate register, but it’s still too easy to set up a business with incorrect information or to hide one’s identity.
We need to ensure information in our corporate register is correct, accessible and up-to-date, and reveals companies’ true beneficial owners.