Democracy that Delivers #341: The Tricky Business of Unmasking Beneficial Owners with Open Ownership’s Thom Townsend

Richard Christel |

Thom Townsend, Executive Director of Open Ownership, joins the CIPE Anti-Corruption & Governance Center podcast to talk about the past, present, and future of beneficial ownership transparency. Townsend draws from his organization’s experience in over 30 countries unmasking the people who ultimately benefit from often opaque and complex ownership structures. Starting with a historical perspective on the invention of corporations, Townsend shares how modern (and still quite new) beneficial ownership practice requires multi-dimensional strategies. Among them: passing new legislation, setting up collection systems, and establishing new public sources of information. Listen now to hear Townsend’s perspectives on the origins of tax havens and the tension between privacy and transparency, as well as learn how persistent barriers to information are complicating current efforts to raise transparency despite renewed global interest in financial and corporate secrecy. The episode is hosted by Richard Christel, Anti-Corruption Program Officer at CIPE.

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Published Date: September 08, 2022