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10 July 2012 at 10:57 BST

Laws needed to improve transparency, report claims

Global corporate giants are still not sufficiently open regarding anti-corruption measures, according to a hard-hitting report released today.

The research from Berlin-based Transparency International says that multi-national corporations have improved their anti-bribery reporting, but ‘still need to do a lot more’.
Banks and insurers were the worst performers, according to the report, with the 24 financial companies included in the survey scoring a transparency rating of only slightly more than 4 out of a possible 10 points.

Legislation required

The report also found that not enough companies are revealing how they contribute to the economies of the countries in which they operate. It suggested that legislation may be needed to require companies to report financial and non-financial data on a country-by-country basis.
Out of 105 ranked companies in the report, 41 companies disclose no information for their local operations and the average result for the transparency of ‘country-by-country’ disclosures is 4 per cent.
Of the 43 companies operating in Greece, none disclosed corporate income tax paid to the Greek government. Of the 65 companies operating in Spain, only 3 companies disclosed taxes paid to the Spanish government.

Enshrining accountability

Jana Mittermaier, Director of the researchers EU liaison office, said: ‘In a time of falling public revenues and growing austerity, companies need to demonstrate that they are also making a fair contribution to the countries where they operate. The European Parliament and national governments now need to consider how these standards of accountability can be enshrined in EU legislation.’
The European Commission has proposed legislation that would require EU-based oil, gas, mining and forestry companies to disclose their payments to governments on a country-by-country basis. The European Parliament will vote on the proposals in the autumn.


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