Who benefits? How company ownership data is used to detect and prevent corruption

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Publication type


Opening Extractives



This policy brief from the Opening Extractives programme demonstrates the potential of company ownership data to challenge those seeking to abuse their positions for personal gain by illustrating how data on beneficial ownership helps prevent and detect corruption, particularly where this data is available through public registers. The brief’s focus is on political or grand corruption, where data from beneficial ownership registers is being used across jurisdictions to investigate corruption and follow the money and also to reduce corruption risks through informed decision-making.

Key recommendations

Promoting the use of beneficial ownership data more widely and effectively, and enabling innovation, are the next steps in the path towards fully unlocking its potential impact. To make this happen, anti-corruption actors should work together to implement five recommendations shown below:

  1. Build registers that meet user needs
  2. Raise awareness and capacity for data use
  3. Invest in innovation
  4. Embed the use of data into existing and new processes
  5. Build sustainability into reforms
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