Madrid, 10 June 2015 – Over 100 civil society organizations from around the globe including Access Info Europe, on 8 June 2015 called on the World Bank to require that all companies bidding for Bank-financed procurements disclose their beneficial ownership information and that this information be published in an open data format as part of the Bank’s efforts to foster transparency in its contracting practices.
Such a move would be in line with current trends to end corporate anonymity: On 5 June 2015, the Norwegian Parliament voted unanimously to establish a beneficial ownership registry, following in the footsteps of the United Kingdom, Denmark and the European Union which have all taken action or pledged to take action to create beneficial ownership registries.
“Requiring bidders to disclose the identity of their true or beneficial owners would help bring an end to conflicts of interest between government officials and politically-connected bidders,” stated Helen Darbishire, Access Info Europe.
Access Info Europe has previously called for company registers to be opened to the public. Research by Access Info has found that high fees for accessing company ownership records is hindering the work of investigative journalists and civil society groups who are trying to track those involved in organised crime and corruption.
“The World Bank is well-place to lead by example, due to its global presence and large annual investment portfolio,” Darbishire added.
“We believe that governments and international organizations should all take concrete steps to end corporate anonymity. For too long, the corrupt have been able to exploit corporate anonymity in order to illegally enrich themselves. Establishing public beneficial ownership registries is an important goal if we want to seriously reduce corruption, money laundering, and the impunity which fuels kleptocracy,” said Shruti Shah, Vice President of Transparency International – USA.
To read a copy of the letter with all 107 signatories, please click here