Brisbane’s G20 summit can be a turning point in the battle to stop dirty money flowing between countries – like the nearly $30 million in Russian money found recently in Gold Coast bank accounts – according to a global anti-corruption fighter to speak in Brisbane this week.
Elena Panfilova, Director of Transparency International Russia, will give the keynote address to a ‘Corruption, Integrity Systems and the G20’ conference tomorrow (Wednesday 18 June), hosted by Griffith University and Transparency International.
As Australian Federal Police move to confiscate the $30 million found belonging to nine Russian nationals, suspected to be proceeds of crime, Ms Panfilova, anti-corruption groups and experts are calling for decisive action by G20 leaders.
“Australia’s leadership of the G20 is a perfect time for Australia to show the way, by tightening up its own financial systems and due diligence in the international effort to stop corruption and crime,” Ms Panfilova said.
“The truth is that corrupt Russians don’t want to spend all their money in Moscow. They want to go to Monaco, Miami, Milan… and the Gold Coast.
“To hear that Australian banks may have accepted millions of dollars from Russians when their salaries were the tiniest fraction of that amount poses the question – why? What due diligence is taking place? What checks did the lawyers and accountants do?”
Last month, another conference speaker, Griffith University’s Professor Jason Sharman, called on Australian and G20 governments to move more swiftly towards tighter regulation of ‘shell companies’ also often used to hide the proceeds of corruption.
Global chair of Transparency International, Canada’s Huguette Labelle, will also deliver a keynote address at the official conference dinner.
New whistleblower report
Conference convenor, Professor AJ Brown (left), of Griffith University’s Centre for Governance and Public Policy, will unveil a new report on the progress of G20 nations in meeting their commitments to strengthen whistleblower protection laws around the world – another plank in the G20’s existing anti-corruption action plan.
Ms Panfilova says the role of the G20 in the fight against corruption is even more important, now that Russia no longer sits at the G8 table, but remains a G20 country.
“This forum can raise the game internationally, each country pulling each other up to higher standards. It is therefore absolutely crucial that the G20 rise to the challenge and set new global anti-corruption standards.
“G20 Leaders need to prove to citizens around the world that they understand the impact of corruption on citizens’ lives – whether it be roads and bridges not built, hospitals withholding treatment to patients who can’t pay, or exorbitantly expensive World Cup or Olympic stadiums.”
Details on the speakers and conference venue details can be found at: http://www.griffith.edu.au/conference/corruption-integrity-systems-g20.
Public Conference: Integrity & Anti-Corruption in the G20: The Post-2014 Agenda
(Part of Corruption, Integrity Systems and the G20)
Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
Wednesday 18 June – 1 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.