On the first anniversary of the Panama Papers, a new tool to track corporate ownership around the world will be released as a public beta. Sign up to join the launch, 2:30pm BST, April 3.
The release of the Panama Papers last year – which detailed the offshore assets of 238,000 people in 200 countries, including 12 heads of state – revealed a complex web of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering. Meanwhile, governments are estimated to lose $330 billion per year to tax evasion and tax avoidance alone. These figures demonstrate how anonymous company ownership places unacceptably high costs on citizens, governments and companies.
In response, OpenOwnership – an initiative from seven civil society organisations including the Web Foundation – has developed the first global, open database of company ownership information, bringing the true owners and beneficiaries of companies into the open. This follows the commitment of several countries, led by the UK, in 2016 to establish national open beneficial ownership registers.
The OpenOwnership Register will bring together data from various national registers to provide users with straightforward access to global beneficial ownership information within a single platform. It will also include data from reports submitted to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The data will be available in an open format for anyone to access, download and reuse, free of charge.
At launch, the platform will include data from the UK register and EITI reports, providing information across many sectors including construction, legal, real estate and extractive industries. Coverage will expand throughout 2017, to include data on who owns 1.9 million companies in 24 countries, and will continue to grow as governments and companies make more data openly available, and as companies submit their own data to the register.
While promoting a culture of transparency and accountability, the OpenOwnership Register will be a powerful tool to help governments crack-down on crime and corruption, will enable companies to better understand who they are doing business with, and will empower journalists and civil society to reveal and campaign against injustice.
Join us for the virtual launch at 2:30 BST, April 3 to get a first look at the platform and learn about its features and functionality. The live webcast will feature speakers from the Web Foundation, Transparency International, the B Team and Open Ownership.