9 May 2016 - Christian Aid today welcomed the latest Panama Papers revelations, but called for governments to respond systemically to the problem, rather than to focus on particular individuals.
The charity also called for the Irish government to immediately introduce a public register of the true flesh and blood owners of companies.
Commenting on the latest revelations, Christian Aid Ireland Head of Advocacy and Policy, Sorley McCaughey said:
'While the individual stories that will be revealed are fascinating, the true value of this data is that it will enable people everywhere to slice through secrecy and understand the scale and nature of the system that allows the richest in society to accumulate wealth at the expense of the poor.
'While there's no suggestion of illegality in the latest revelations, the reality is that these structures are the same as those used by money launderers, tax evaders, criminals and terrorists,' said Mr McCaughey.
'Nothing short of full transparency as to the true flesh and blood beneficiaries of these companies will allow citizens and regulatory bodies- particularly in developing countries - to identify instances of illegal activity. There is no other way to be sure that the information will reach everyone that it should. Having the eyes of the world on such information also means that is far more likely to be acted upon', Mr McCaughey continued.
He also called on the Irish government to respond, and was critical of their failure to act so far.
'It's a great disappointment to date, that Ireland has failed to publicly commit to introducing a public register of the beneficial owners of companies under the 2015 revision to the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive.
'Under the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive of 2015, negotiated by member states, all European countries are obliged to introduce a register of the beneficial owners of companies. There is nothing to stop countries going beyond the minimum requirement and introducing a register that is publicly accessible.
'Given the international criticism around its tax policy to which Ireland is subjected, any opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to highest levels of transparency should be grabbed with both hands',concluded Mr McCaughey.
Last month the US Department of Justice included Ireland on a list of 'known money laundering havens'. The comment was made in documents filed with the US District Court of New Jersey earlier this year, which have only now come to light.
For more information contact Sorley McCaughey 087 0620 062 or Barry Turley 00447734256318
Notes to editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, and sustainably. Our strategy document ‘From Inspiration to Impact’ outlines how we set about this task.
3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org
4. Follow Christian Aid Ireland on Twitter: twitter.com/christianaidirl
5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit www.christianaid.ie