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KUALA LUMPUR: TRANSPARENCY International Malaysia (TI-M) yesterday kicked off its “Unmask The Corrupt” campaign and outlined three key suggestions to curb graft and illegal activities in private firms.

Its president, Datuk Akhbar Satar, in his keynote speech during the launch suggested that the government undertake three measures to ensure that money from corruption and illegal activities was not hidden in a secret jurisdiction.

“We need to change how we run things, including the adoption of rules requiring transparency of beneficial owners.”

He said there should be clear accounting standards in firms and the establishment of rules requiring greater cooperation on tax matters.

“Few jurisdictions require companies to share information on beneficial ownership with their national authorities. Financial institutions, including banks, as part of their due diligence should identify the ultimate beneficial owners or controllers of any company, trust or foundation seeking to open an account.”

Akhbar said multinational companies should be more open about their financial affairs in order to prevent tax evasion.

However, he said, this could happen only if the information was made available to the public in a user-friendly and timely manner.

Cooperation on tax matters among jurisdictions, he said, was important to uncover untaxed income of corrupt officials.

“TI-M calls on our government to advance in the struggle against impunity. There is much work to be done to address illicit money outflows, money laundering and eliminate secret tax havens and opaque beneficial ownership.”

“Investments of ‘dirty money’ could distort the economy and hamper investment and economic growth once illegal money has entered the global and financial markets. It becomes much harder
to trace its origin, and the laundering of ill-gotten gains may perpetuate a cycle of crime and drug trafficking.”

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