Dirty Money vs. Open Data: The Potential of Digitalization in Combating Money Laundering

Michael Hornsby, Maira Martini, Anna-Maija Mertens

Germany has a major money-laundering problem. We can’t efficiently enforce sanctions against Russia because we don’t always know who owns & controls corporations due to a lack in beneficial ownership transparency. Join our session to hear how digitalisation & open data can be a tool for civil society & state actors to identify & stop dirty money.

Germany isn't most people's idea of a tax haven, but dirty money from organised crime and autocrats worldwide finds a safe haven here. Europe's biggest economy ranks seventh among the world's most attractive tax havens in the Tax Justice Network's 2022 Financial Secrecy Index. Our panellists will tackle, besides other topics, the following three questions:

  • Why do we need open data in the fight against money laundering?
  • How can open data, digitalization and public access to beneficial ownership data help media, civil society as well as law enforcement officials to identify dirty money and implement sanctions?
  • What does a recent EU Court of Justice ruling restricting public access to transparency registers mean for the fight against money laundering?

Presentation by Maíra Martini (Research & Policy Expert Corrupt Money Flows, Transparency International): Access to the right types of data and in the right format can enable journalists and civil society to uncover corruption, facilitate informed policy making and change the way competent authorities tackle financial crime. Martini will discuss the impact of the recent decision of the EU Court of Justice that ultimately shut down the access to beneficial ownership registers and what needs to happen next to ensure that EU companies do not become the vehicle of choice of criminals and the corrupt.

Presentation by Dr. Bernadette Seehafer (Legal Expert & Researcher): Big Data Artificial Intelligence (BDAI) can be a tool against money laundering. Seehafer will discuss  the difficult tension that exists between data protection and the need for open data access to combat money laundering.

Presentation by Michael Hornsby (Impact Editor, Anti-Corruption Data Collective): Open data about who owns and benefits from companies is crucial for identifying the culprits behind cases of criminality and corruption.  It also allows for data  analysis that can pinpoint policy problems or successes, and give policymakers reliable evidence for improving the systems designed to prevent wrongdoing. When this big-picture analysis is combined with case-based storytelling & advocacy, the impact achieved can be tremendous. 

Moderation: Dr. Anna-Maija Mertens (Executive Director, Transparency International Germany)

Profilbild von Dr. Mertens
Managing Director Transparency International Germany