Dear Bundesfinanzminister Schäuble – please don’t block public registries

   0   0 AllEurope, Blog, Secrecy

SCN_0001European transparency and anti-corruption campaigning organisations have sent the following letter to German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble requesting that his government should support demands by the European Parliament that information about the ultimate beneficial owners (the true, warm-blooded humans hiding behind shell companies with nominee directors and nominee shareholders) should be made available on public registry.  The German government is apparently resisting this move.

Berlin, 3 December 2014

Dear Minister Schäuble

The current revision of the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive provides a unique opportunity to put a stop to the activities of criminals, tax evaders and embezzlers in Europe. It is of utmost importance that disclosure of the beneficiaries and owners (“beneficial owners”) of companies, foundations, trusts and other legal entities on a register is made mandatory and that the register is publicly available.

SCN_0002Last week during negotiations the European Parliament called unequivocally for the introduction of such a register, and demanded that there should be no watering down of the proposal, as the European Council and particularly the German government have been proposing.

Having public registers of ultimate beneficial ownership will provide investigating authorities, the public, media and business in Europe and worldwide with better overview; this extends to the people of developing countries, some of whose elites exploit the lack of transparency in the European Union. Abuses and crimes would be avoided or could be cleared up quickly. In this context, Ukraine has just introduced a public register of enterprises.

We therefore call on you, and your government to desist from blocking the proposal and make way for all EU countries to have a mandatory register freely available to the public.

Furthermore, we require publication of all infringements of the Directive’s requirements by banks and other responsible entities. The EU-Parliament and EU-Commission have been calling for this. The European Council, in contrast, wants to publish the data only on a case by case basis after evaluating the appropriateness / commensurability , which appears also to be the German government position. But only full disclosure can dissuade banks. For a long time, the US has taken a different direction by publishing the decisions by the authorities. Disclosure also helps governments elsewhere in the world, and the media and civil society, to subject banks to effective accountability.

Last, but by no means least, experience teaches us that transparency of the treatment of standards and directives ensures their evolving development and ultimately the crucial convergence of frameworks. Therefore, we urge you to demand disclosure at EU council.

With best regards

Frank Bsirske, Ver.di
Markus Henn, TJN-Germany
Pirmin Spiegel, Misereor
Marion Lieser, Oxfam Germany
Caspar von Hauenschild, Transparency International Germany
Pater Wahl, WEED
Tobias Kahler, ONE Germany
Jens Martens, Global Policy Forum
Sandro Mattioli, Mafia? Nein Danke!
John Christensen, TJN
Jesse Griffith, Eurodad
Heinz Hödl, KOO
Gavin Hayman, Global Witness


Related Posts

UN must defend target to curtail multinational companies’ tax abuse

Photo by Luca Santori, Creative Commons LicenseThe Tax Justice Network, The Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation, and the Global Alliance for Tax Justice call on the UN Secretary General to make sure the commitment to action on tax abuses by multinational companies remains part of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals.


The BVI: Responsible for worldwide tax losses of $37.5 billion a year

BVI report blogAn extraordinary report by consultants Capital Economics, for BVI Finance, claims that the British Virgin Islands are responsible for $1.5 trillion of assets invested around the world, and that these result in 2.2 million jobs and $15 billion in tax revenue. A better approximation would be that the BVI imposes global tax losses of $37.5 […]


Event: Making Tax Work for Women in the UK and Globally

Invitation_ Tax and Gender eventOn Wednesday 28th June 2017 at 16.30 our very own Liz Nelson will be speaking at an event in London that aims to bring together gender and tax justice advocates to highlight the need for coherent and gender-responsive fiscal policies to safeguard the rights of women and girls both in the UK and globally. The […]


Historic event on women, human rights and tax justice in Bogota

BogotaLast week civil society organisations, researchers, labour union activists and policy makers met in Bogota, Colombia to explore how tax justice issues can ensure governments, multinational corporations and others meet their obligations to women in order to secure their full range of human rights. The Women’s Rights and Tax Justice conference opened with a conversation […]


The Offshore Wrapper: the Panama Papers, one year on

Photos from the Protest outside PwC 1 Embankment Place, part of the Global week of action for tax justiceWelcome to the Offshore Wrapper – your weekly update from TJN.  Happy Paniversary! This week it’s been one year since the Panama Papers were leaked, and a number of organisations around the world have been marking the occasion though the global week of action for tax justice. In London, activists from the TJN and the […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top