Welcome

We are a group of UK Parliamentarians passionate about tackling domestic and international corruption.

The effects of corruption are profound, impacting the lives of both UK and global citizens.   This is why we believe we must play our part in tackling this issue and in ensuring that the UK is not complicit in corruption.

If you would like to know more about the APPG, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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APPGs debate Anti-Corruption Summit

Senior members of the APPG on Anti-Corruption and the APPG on Responsible Taxation have called on the Prime Minister to commit to his pledge to “lead by example” and clarify his policies to combat tax evasion and corruption.

On Tuesday 3 May the Groups secured a parliamentary debate to consider the Anti-Corruption Summit to and compel Cabinet Office Ministers to set out their ambitions. As no details of the summit agenda or attendees have yet been made available to Parliament, this debate pushed the Government to reveal what will be negotiated next month.

APPG on Responsible Tax chair, Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP has said:

“The government seems to be all talk and no action. I sincerely hope that this half hearted approach to tackling tax evasion and corruption does not set the precedent for the entire summit.

“It is ironic that an Anti-Corruption Summit lacks transparency. We therefore feel it is appropriate for the agenda and attendees to be publicised. We hope that this debate will encourage the Prime Minister to open up the lines of communication with the public.”

Co-chair of APPG on Anti-Corruption, Catherine McKinnell MP added:

“The upcoming international anti-corruption summit presents an extraordinary and rare opportunity for world leaders, business and civil society to agree on specific, concrete steps to advance the fight against all forms of corruption.

With so little known so far about the summit, today’s debate provides a vital opportunity for Parliamentarians to understand how ministers will make good on their promises to tackle financial crime, corruption in sport and corporate secrecy.

Given the Prime Minister has pledged to ‘lead by example’, I have been clear that UK law needs reforming so that corporates can be held criminally liable for acts of economic crime such as fraud or money laundering.

Our law enforcement agencies agree this is a necessary tool to effectively tackle corruption, and I will be pressing ministers on this today.”
APPG on Anti-Corruption co-chair, Nigel Mills MP added:

“As the Prime Minister said last year, “corruption is one of the greatest enemies of progress in our time”: bribes, tax evasion, and grand corruption destabilise development, keep vulnerable people in poverty, add significantly to the cost of doing business, and fund terror.

Action to force a global step-change is vital, and it is right for the UK to take the lead at the Prime Minister’s International Anti-Corruption Summit.

However, the Summit will only succeed if we robustly address money-laundering in the City of London and secure commitments from the British Overseas Territories to introduce public registers of beneficial ownership to strip companies of the secrecy that allows them to hide the proceeds of crime and corruption offshore.

This debate will drive home the importance of getting our backyard in order if we are to be a credible leader on international anti-corruption on 12 May.”
This debate follows an open letter to the Prime Minister, which was jointly written by the APPGs. The letter urged the Prime Minister to ensure the participation of the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies in the Summit and encouraged him re-double his efforts to persuade the jurisdictions to adopt public registers of beneficial ownership.

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Panama Papers: APPG Officers call for transparency & law reform

On Monday 11 April the Prime Minister made a statement on the Panama Papers, outlining his personal involvement in Blairmore Holdings before setting out his government’s tax transparency agenda.

In the debate that followed, APPG co-Chair Catherine McKinnell MP questioned the Prime Minister’s position on corporate criminal liability.

At present under UK law, in order to hold a company criminally liable, prosecutors must identify an individual sufficiently senior – usually at board level – as the ‘controlling mind’ of that company with knowledge of the offence. In an increasingly globalised world where multinational organisations – and their complicated management structures – are the norm, this sets an extremely high bar for prosecutors to cross.

This contrasts with the situation in the US where a company can be held vicariously liable in criminal law for the actions of its employees undertaken in the course of their employment.

Proposals to introduce corporate criminal liability for economic offences in the UK were dropped by the Government in September 2015, on the grounds that ‘there is little evidence of economic crime going unpunished.’

Questioning the Prime Minister, Catherine asked:

‘The Prime Minister acknowledged in his statement that under current legislation it is difficult to prosecute companies that assist with tax evasion, and I and many others would add fraud and corruption to that list.

‘The Government promised in their manifesto to extend the new corporate offence to deal with economic crime, not just tax evasion. Will the Prime Minister commit today to urgently review the current position, and to extend the offence of [failing to prevent] tax evasion to incorporate fraud and corruption?’

The Prime Minister responded:

‘The hon. Lady makes an interesting suggestion that I will consider carefully. We have announced our proposal, and identified an opportunity in the Gracious [Queen’s] Speech to include that measure in a future Bill. At that time, we can consider an extension and a tidying up of the offences so that they can be used in the same way, and I will look carefully at what she suggests.’

During an Opposition Day debate on tax avoidance and evasion on Wednesday 13 April, Catherine once again called for law reform, before describing the revelations in the Panama papers a ‘pivotal moment that the Government must not squander.’

She was joined by Mark Durkan MP, the APPG’s Secretary, who called for the Prime Minister to ‘ratchet up’ the pressure on the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies to implement transparency in company ownership ahead of the Anti-Corruption Summit next month.

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APPGs urge PM to tackle financial secrecy in OTs following Panama Papers leak

On 5 April 2016 the APPG on Anti-Corruption and the APPG on Responsible Taxation wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to end the financial secrecy  in the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies at his forthcoming anti-corruption summit in May.

Signed by Catherine McKinnell MP (co-Chair), Nigel Mills MP (co-Chair), and Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP (Chair, APPG on Responsible Taxation), the letter calls for the Prime Minister to ensure that the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies attend the summit and are held to account for their failure to adequately tackle tax avoidance and corruption to date.

The full letter can be read here.

 

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James Duddridge MP will “constantly ask the international community..to create greater transparency”

On Tuesday 23 February APPG member Nic Dakin MP (Lab) quizzed James Duddridge MP, the FCO Minister responsible for the Overseas Territories, on when the likes of the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands will bring in central registers of beneficial ownership. According to the Minister discussions are still ongoing, but that he wants “to see significant progress ahead of the anti-corruption summit”.

Asked by Nigel Mills MP (Con) and Catherine West MP (Lab) on whether the registers will be open to the public and if he was concerned by his department’s delay in achieving the Prime Minister’s ambitions, the Minister responded:

This is a matter of direction, rather than an ultimate destination. We will constantly ask the international community to do more to create greater transparency, but it is crucial that the international community, whether it is the Crown dependencies, the overseas territories or other overseas Governments, move together on this, because we want to eliminate the problem of corrupt and untransparent moneys, rather than shift it from territory to territory.”

A full transcript of the questions can be read here.

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The FIFA corruption story: what happened, and where next?

On 9 February the APPG and New Fifa Now hosted a panel discussion in Parliament exploring how it was that the corruption in Fifa, known about by so many for so long, continued unabated over a period of decades.

With a keynote address from the Anti-Corruption Champion, Rt Hon Sir Eric Pickles MP, the panel discussed the failures in the organisation’s governance and accountability, considered how UK banks and British Overseas Territories facilitated the bribery, and asked what the UK and the Football Association can do to demand and enforce robust reform of the organisation in the months and years ahead.

Panellists included:  Lord David Triesman, former Chair of the Football Association, Damian Collins MP, co-founder of New FIFA Now and Member of the Culture, Media, and Sports Select Committee, Deborah Unger, Transparency International, Stuart McWilliam, Global Witness. The discussion was chaired by Nigel Mills MP, co-Chair of the APPG on Anti-Corruption.

A report of their contributions can be read here

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