Washington, D.C. — This week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will attend an international anti-corruption summit in London. In light of the recent Panama Papers leak revealing the extent to which the global financial system—and offshore shell companies in particular—are exploited by criminals, terrorists, and corrupt officials, the summit offers an opportunity to strengthen global efforts to curb these abuses. In a column released today, the Center for American Progress highlights ways in which the United States could lead the global effort against corruption by first ensuring that it tackles financial opacity at home.
“The Panama Papers have shown the many completely legal ways kleptocrats and criminals hide dirty money within the international financial system,” said Molly Elgin-Cossart, CAP Senior Fellow and co-author of the column. “Loopholes—including in U.S. laws and regulations—enable corruption that eats away at economic development, starves treasuries of desperately needed revenue, destroys trust in government, and ultimately endangers national security. The United States has the potential to provide global leadership in catalyzing greater transparency and strengthening the global financial system, but it must first exorcise its own demons.”
The column calls for robust legislation to provide the right tools and vigilant enforcement required to prevent corruption. But, lacking that, it outlines several ways in which the United States could still make improvements and get its own house in order. Those include finalizing Securities and Exchange Commission rules for the public disclosure of payment information among natural resource investors; requiring beneficial ownership transparency for federal contractors; and supporting and strengthening regional anti-corruption bodies and the enforcement of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Anti-Bribery Convention.
Click here to read the column.
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