Disclosure of Beneficial Ownership After the Panama Papers

The disclosure of the “Panama Papers” [1] focused public interest on how elaborate corporate structures and offshore tax havens can be used by politicians, celebrities and other elites to obscure their assets, including concealing their beneficial ownership of companies. Conventional thinking suggests that trust in corporations and markets depend, in large part, on the existence of an accurate disclosure regime that provides transparency in the beneficial ownership and control structures of companies. In particular, investor confidence in financial markets is regarded as contingent on the accurate disclosure of the ultimate beneficial owner (either an individual, group of individuals or the state) of publicly listed companies. Most jurisdictions have therefore introduced rules mandating beneficial owners to disclose and report the accumulation of a substantial ownership of shares.

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