The Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) from the World Bank and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime published on Monday the report The Puppet Masters: How the Corrupt Use Legal Structures to Hide Stolen Assets and What to Do About It. The study is based on an analysis of 150 grand corruption cases from the last 30 years, complemented by an assessment of company registration procedures in 40 jurisdictions and the contributions of almost 80 experts.
The evidence provided by those sources shows that corrupt government officials involved in the selected cases consistently made use of institutional loopholes allowing the creation of intransparent organizations that help them cover up traces of illegal transactions.
Among the policy recommendations discussed in the report, there is emphasis on the need to increase corporate transparency by developing registries with more detailed ownership and control information. The report also mentions that the capacity of law enforcement institutions to investigate complex legal and financial structures must improve, in order to match the challenges imposed by such corrupt practices.
Read the full press release Corrupt Money Concealed in Shell Companies and Other Opaque Legal Entities, Finds New StAR Study. Emile van der Does de Willebois, senior Financial Sector specialist at the World Bank and one of the report’s author, also posted about it on Transparency International’s blog. The full report can be accessed on StAR’s website.