In Partnership with Republic of Korea Ministry of Strategy and Finance

VIDEO

Introduction

The lack of transparency around beneficial ownership of companies, foundations and trusts creates a need for international standards and tools to counter resulting corruption and financial crimes.

VIDEO

Who is a Beneficial Owner?

This presentation explains how beneficial ownership differs from legal ownership, and why transparency matters.

DOCUMENT

Case Study: Chen Shui-Bian An actual case illustrating the misuse of legal entities, trust, and bank accounts and involvement of professional financial intermediaries located across multiple jurisdictions, and which required international cooperation to tackle.

DOCUMENT

Tools for Transparency Key international standards and tools that can be used to enhance the effectiveness of a country's policy, legal framework and institutional capacity to ensure transparency of beneficial ownership

Beneficial Ownership Transparency

Over a trillion US dollars in estimated illicit financial flows diverting much needed resources from developing countries, tens of billions in corruption proceeds stashed away by former Heads of State and high level officials of Yemen, Ukraine, Arab Spring and countless other countries; and still others perpetrating fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and myriad of other financial crimes.

Corruption and other criminal assets, complex money trails, strings of shell companies and other legal persons and legal arrangements (such as foundations, trusts and trust-like arrangements). These form the complex web of subterfuge in financial crimes cases, behind which hides the beneficial owner—the puppet master and beneficiary of it all. Linking the beneficial owner to the proceeds of corruption and other crimes is notoriously hard. With sizable wealth and resources on their side, they exploit transnational constructions that are hard to penetrate and stay aggressively ahead of the game and to conceal ownership and control of tainted assets.

Transparency of beneficial ownership will help ensure that the puppet masters and their associates and facilitators are not able to operate in secrecy and impede development.
The Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) and the Financial Market Integrity Unit have been providing targeted technical assistance on beneficial ownership to financial centers, including offshore centers and more developing countries in the context of understanding how the corrupt are able to hide their stolen assets through legal structures. This learning module is based on StAR’s leading study in this field: The Puppet Masters: How the Corrupt Hide Stolen Assets Using Legal Structures and What to Do About It.

About the Presenters

Emile van der Does de Willebois

Emile van der Does de Willebois is a Senior Financial Sector Specialist in the Finance and Markets Global Practice of the World Bank and the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR), a partnership of the World Bank and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Emile began his career working for the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. Subsequently he worked in private practice specializing in banking and securities law. Emile joined the World Bank’s Financial Market Integrity unit in 2004, and plays a vital coordinating role in all aspects of the unit’s work, including country assessments, delivery of technical assistance, and contributions to international standard setting bodies, particularly on the issues of abuse of legal entities, beneficial ownership and the use of non-profit entities for terrorist purposes. Emile has also worked with a number of Arab and other countries in their international stolen assets recovery efforts.

Ji Won Park

Ji Won Park is an attorney with two decades of experience in government, private sector, and civil society organizations in the United States and South Korea. At the Financial Market Integrity Unit of the World Bank and the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) since 2009, her projects include The Puppet Masters: How the Corrupt Hide Stolen Assets Using Legal Structures and What to Do about It, Left Out of the Bargain: Settlements in Foreign Bribery Cases and Implications for Asset Recovery, and the StAR Asset Recovery Watch cases database. Ms. Park participated in the Financial Action Task Force study, Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Vulnerabilities of Legal Professionals and contributes to StAR’s policy advocacy and technical assistance work in the area of transparency of beneficial ownership. Ms. Park is a graduate of Columbia College and Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a Public Interest Law Scholar.

Francisca Fernando