Public registers of beneficial ownership were unthinkable a decade ago, but impact to date makes a strong case for global adoption
A few months ago, we learned the extent to which the world’s rich and powerful have been offshoring their wealth in Luxembourg, a small country in the heart of Europe. What’s more, individuals suspected of corruption or under investigation for various crimes in their home countries have apparently been able to hide behind Luxembourgish companies when buying real estate and doing business elsewhere.
These investigations – known as OpenLux – are noteworthy for another reason, too. Unlike other major exposés that have relied on document leaks – often at a great risk to whistleblowers – OpenLux reports were based on the analysis of public records. Journalists and civil society were able to access information on Luxembourg-based companies’ beneficial owners – individuals who ultimately own, control or benefit from said companies – in a government register.
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