EU states failed to introduce financial transparency

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Most EU member states have failed to meet a legal deadline to introduce public registers of the real owners of companies, a transparency measure seen as key to fighting money laundering, according to a review by anti-corruption campaigners, the Guardian reports.

In May 2018, the European Union passed a directive obliging member states to publish the beneficial owners of firms registered in their jurisdictions by January this year.

Two months after the deadline and two years after governments were told to get new systems up and running, leading campaign group Global Witness has found only six countries have implemented public register systems that meet the transparency criteria set out in the EU directive.

Anonymously-owned companies are one of the key tools used by money launderers and tax evaders to hide their ill-gotten gains and taxable assets from law enforcement and tax inspectors – and public registers are a way of making this more difficult.

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