G7 Summit: Leaders recognise need to address kleptocracy, but remain vague on details
Multilateral task force targeting illicit wealth still needs a clear action plan
The G7 Leaders’ Communiqué – released today at the conclusion of their Summit in Elmau, Germany – contains a welcome recognition that the world’s leading economies must do more to address cross-border corruption.
Maíra Martini, corrupt money flows expert at Transparency International, reacts:
“It’s encouraging that G7 leaders have now clearly acknowledged the disastrous impacts of kleptocracy – and how corruption and illicit finance enable it all. After Russia invaded Ukraine, G7 leaders promised to “hunt down” the assets Russian elites have stashed in their economies. It seemed like the beginning of the end of Western complicity in enabling kleptocracy. But in the following months, their silence on any concrete actions has been worrying.
“It's good to see that G7 leaders have now asked the Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs (REPO) Task Force to report by the end of the year “on potential additional measures to be taken”. But the task force should also tell us what they have actually done to sanction and confiscate wealth, and what is still blocking their work. In fact, Transparency International has found there are myriad obstacles hindering multilateral efforts to target Russian elites and their wealth.
“It’s also a good sign that G7 leaders see the need to look beyond Russia. One concrete way they can do that is to expand REPO’s mandate to target illicit wealth from everywhere and make it a permanent body.”
Christoph Kowalewski, Transparency International Germany’s official representative at the G7 Leaders’ Summit, said:
“Our call for the G7 to recognise their role in fighting corruption and kleptocracy seems to have been heard. It is promising that the G7 acknowledges the threats that corruption and dirty money pose to national security, freedom and democracy. Now, we expect these pledges to be followed by action.
“We welcome the G7's commitment to speed up the implementation of and strengthen transparency registers as well as to swiftly implement the global standards set by the Financial Action Task Force. We will monitor this closely. Furthermore, the G7 should urgently close the loopholes that allow dirty money to flow into their economies. Germany and all G7 countries must immediately make additional resources available to national authorities tasked with the fight against corruption and illicit finance.”
In May, Transparency International’s study, Up to the task? The state of play in countries committed to freezing and seizing Russian dirty money, found that authorities across the G7 lack the information, capacity and powers needed to track down illicit wealth. The report observed that, as things stand, governments will also face significant legal challenges when attempting to confiscate and return these assets to the victims of corruption.
Last week, Transparency International urged G7 leaders to use the Summit to outline concrete steps for delivering on their commitments to curb dirty money, including on the promise to track down Russian elites’ illicit wealth hidden across the G7.
Transparency International Germany chaired the Open Societies Working Group as part of the official G7 process, Civil7 (C7). It also closely engaged with the G7 presidency on the question of strengthening the fight against kleptocracy and transnational corruption.
This statement is also available in German.
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