Bowles: Latest oil scandal proves need for better corporate transparency in developing world

Sharon Bowles MEPEuro MP Sharon Bowles, who chairs the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, has renewed calls for better corporate transparency in the developing world following revelations that approximately £690 million paid to the Nigerian government by subsidiaries of Shell and ENI ended up in the hands of former Nigerian oil minister and convicted money launderer, Dan Etete.

For years big multinational companies have been able to keep their business dealings in the developing world a secret but new EU proposals will require companies to make public details of their activities on a country-by-country and project-by-project basis.

However, Ms Bowles believes these ‘projects’ need to be properly defined to ensure that payments, such as the one made by Shell and ENI, are reported.

Speaking from Strasbourg, Ms Bowles said:

“This latest scandal, where money has ended up in the pockets of a convicted money launderer, highlights the importance of properly defined project-by-project reporting.

“More transparency not only allows civil society to better hold their governments to account but also puts best practice at the heart of every corporate deal done in the developing world.

“That said, I have submitted amendments to legislation ensuring that payments to governments above 100,000 euros are disclosed.

“Big multinationals should no longer be allowed to pay hundreds of millions of pounds to governments behind closed doors.”

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