Dignitaries take part in the opening debate at the International Anti Corruption Conference (IACC) titled 'Together for development, peace and security: now is the time to act' on October 22, 2018 in Copenhagen. The conference, organised by the NGO Transparency International, gathers more than 1200 delegates from more than 100 countries (Photo: PHILIP DAVALI/AFP/Getty Images).

The UK government has announced wide-ranging measures to tackle corruption at home and abroad ahead of the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Copenhagen on Monday (22).

International campaign launched to clamp down on companies where the identity of the real owners is unknown, aiming to bring to a halt the getaway vehicles of the corrupt. A £4.6 million of funding announced to support anti-corruption initiatives abroad, helping the public hold their governments to account.

International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, announced wide-ranging measures to tackle corruption at home and abroad ahead of the IACC in Copenhagen, where the UK will call on international partners to join them in tackling systemic global corruption.

The conference, the biggest of its kind with more than a thousand participants from a hundred countries, is being hosted by the Danish government and follows the UK’s Anti-Corruption Summit in 2016.

At the conference, the department for international development, alongside the UK prime minister’s anti-corruption champion, John Penrose, will launch an international campaign to promote transparency of company ownership.

The UK government will urge countries to follow the UK’s lead and ensure every company registered in their country publicly discloses their real owner. Secret companies – companies where the identity of the owners is unknown – are a major facilitator of corruption, enabling fraud, tax evasion, organised crime and terrorist financing.

Mordaunt has called on countries to work together to create a new ‘global norm’ whereby a critical mass of nations will publish who actually owns the companies that are registered in their country.

The conference will also see the Ukraine government sign an agreement with Open Ownership, a Department for International Development (DFID) funded organisation that is working to build a Global Beneficial Ownership Register, bringing together data about who owns companies from around the world.

There are already 5.3 million companies on the register. DFID is supporting open ownership to help governments, such as those of Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, to implement the commitments they made to publish their own national registers of company ownership.

DFID also announced funding on Monday aimed at furthering the UK’s world-leading work on anti-corruption and international illicit finance.

A £2.6m of support announced for the International Budget Partnership (IBP), an organisation that reports on the transparency of government budgets. This helps measure global progress on budget transparency and tackling corruption.

A £2m contribution announced for the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions Development Initiative (IDI), an organisation which strengthens governments’ audit institutions – particularly fragile states in Africa, curtailing corruption. This helps to transform countries into becoming the trading partners of the future and builds on the UK prime minister’s landmark visit to Africa in August.

The announcements follow the publication of the UK Anti-Corruption Strategy in December 2017. That strategy set out how tackling corruption is crucial to UK national security, to international prosperity, and to building citizens’ trust in government.