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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MPs welcome Criminal Finances Bill, call for government to hold strong and redouble focus on Overseas Territories

A Criminal Finances Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech today. According to the government, the Bill will include: measures to reform proceeds of crime legislation to allow the Government to recoup more illicit income; a new criminal offence for corporations that fail to stop staff facilitating tax evasion; and new rules to toughen the UK’s anti-money laundering regime.

Following last week’s Anti-Corruption Summit, the legislation is intended to cement the UK’s leading role in the fight against international corruption, and crack down on money laundering and people profiting from crime.

Nigel Mills MP and Catherine McKinnell MP, co-Chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption, said:

We applaud the ambition of the Criminal Finances Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech, and urge the government to resist any attempt by vested interests to water down measures to tackle economic crime.

In the last session we saw the effectiveness of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime – a key accountability measure recommended by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards – weakened as the Bank of England Act made its way through Parliament.

This cannot happen again.

The APPG on Anti-Corruption is committed to scrutinising the draft legislation and will not hesitate to call the government to account if it backtracks on today’s announcements.

We welcome the measures proposed today, but, as we have said on numerous occasions, when territories under UK authority are left free to give safe harbour to anonymous companies, then our other achievements and credibility are threatened.

To ensure the effectiveness of today’s proposals we need to see an end to financial secrecy in the Overseas Territories.

Once again, we urge the Prime Minister to redouble his efforts to ensure the Territories meet his ‘gold standard’ for public registers, or risk seeing his government’s new anti-corruption legislation undermined before it even becomes law.

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Anti-Corruption Summit reaction: MPs call on PM to ‘strain every sinew’ to achieve transparency in the Overseas Territories

In a statement following the Prime Minister’s Anti-Corruption Summit, APPG co-Chairs Catherine McKinnell MP and Nigel Mills MP, said:

Last week, we said that the Prime Minister’s Summit will only succeed if he tackles head on money-laundering in the City of London and secures commitments from the British Overseas Territories to introduce public registers of beneficial ownership, which strip companies of the secrecy that allows them to hide the proceeds of crime and corruption offshore.

Following the Summit’s announcements, we look forward to seeing ownership transparency in the UK property market and integrated into public procurement. We now need to see the new ‘failure to prevent’ offence, which we have long called for, applied to all forms of economic crime and corruption if it is to properly hold companies to account.

We regret that the British Overseas Territories have failed to follow the UK’s lead to end the financial secrecy which is so valuable to the world’s corrupt.

When territories under UK authority are left free to give safe harbour to anonymous corporations, then our achievements and credibility in the global anti-corruption movement are threatened.

We need to see an end to secrecy in the Overseas Territories and urge the Prime Minister to strain every sinew to ensure Territories meet his ‘gold standard’ for public registers, otherwise the Summit’s achievements risk being undermined.

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International parliamentarians call on PM to push for financial transparency in the OTs

This morning, senior MPs from the APPG on Anti-Corruption, the APPG on Responsible Taxation, and leaders from African, Oceanian, and the Caribbean regions of the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) united in calling for the Prime Minister to announce public registers of beneficial ownership in the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies at tomorrow’s Anti-Corruption Summit.

Catherine McKinnell MP, Nigel Mills MP, the Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP, and Rt Hon David Davis MP, and Akaash Maharaj, CEO of GOPAC said:

We respectfully submit that if territories under British authority are left free to give safe harbour to publicly anonymous corporations, then Britain’s achievements and credibility in the global anti-corruption movement will be undermined.”

The full letter can be read here.

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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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