The Latest: Activists give anti-corruption vow mixed welcome

AP News
|
Posted: May 12, 2016 10:42 AM
The Latest: Activists give anti-corruption vow mixed welcome

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the international meeting on corruption being held in London (all times local):

3:40 p.m.

Charities and activist groups are giving a mixed welcome to corruption-fighting commitments from an international meeting in London.

Participants from 40 nations have vowed to root out and punish corruption — but many did not sign up to the toughest measures.

Just six countries, including Britain, have agreed to publish registers of who really owns companies in their territories — a key goal of anti-corruption groups. Six more said they would consider doing so.

Jose Ugaz, chair of Transparency International, said it was "a good day for the fight against corruption, but there is more to do."

Susana Ruiz, tax expert at anti-poverty charity Oxfam, said "tax dodgers can still sleep easily tonight."

She said tax evasion would continue until "all governments, including tax havens, commit to a global public register showing who really profits from shell companies —wherever they are based."

___

12:50 p.m.

A global anti-corruption summit is extracting a plethora of promises from nations to open up corporate records, quash money laundering and end bribery in public contracts.

But the results are mixed, with many countries failing to commit to the toughest actions sought by British Prime Minister David Cameron.

In a communique published during Thursday's meeting, participants say tackling corruption is "a top priority, at home and abroad." Attendees promise to "uncover corruption wherever it exists, and to pursue and punish those who perpetrate, facilitate or are complicit in it."

But firm commitments vary widely. Just six countries, including Britain, have agreed to publish registers of who really owns companies in their territories — a key goal of anti-corruption groups. Six more say they will "explore doing so."

___

11:50 a.m.

There's a lot of talk at a London anti-corruption summit about making island tax havens more transparent. British territories including the Cayman Islands and Jersey have agreed to draw up lists of who owns companies registered there.

But Allan Bell, chief minister of the Isle of Man — a British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea — says there won't be real progress "unless the United States joins in this international agreement" and makes its own tax havens, such as Delaware, more open.

This month the Obama administration announced a set of financial regulations that would force companies to disclosure more information about their owners, part of an effort billed as a crackdown on tax evaders and money launderers.

Bell says "we need actions, not fine words."

___

11:00 a.m.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says corruption is a global "pandemic" and as big a threat to nation states as terrorism.

Kerry has told an international anti-corruption summit in London that as the United States' top diplomat, "I've been shocked by the degree to which I have found corruption pandemic in the world today."

He says that "corruption writ large is as much of an enemy, because it destroys nation states, as some of the extremists we're fighting."

British Prime Minister David Cameron has gathered leaders, civil-society groups and representatives of banks and financial institutions at Thursday's conference with the goal of producing a strong global declaration against financial wrongdoing.