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Richards attends London anti-corruption summit

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Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, is in London and is expected to join a number of global leaders today at an anti-corruption summit.

The event comes only a month after millions of documents were leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, with claims some of the entries show offshore shell companies being used by wealthy individuals and entities to conceal their fortunes and evade taxes.

This week Mr Richards was fulfilling a number of engagements in the British capital, including yesterday's opening of Hamilton Insurance Group's new office in the city.

The minister was expected to attend the Anti-Corruption Summit: London 2016.

As prelude to the summit, a one-day conference entitled Tackling Corruption Together brought together civil society, business and government leaders from around the world.

That event, held yesterday, highlighted and supported the fight against corruption, with leaders discussing “commitments to end impunity, prevent corruption, empower victims and support activists, in an effort to bolster good governance and transparency and support sustainable development”, according to a statement on Commonwealth of Nations' website.

Patricia Scotland, the secretary-general of the Commonwealth, presented the opening and closing remarks at the conference, which was hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat in partnership with a number of other organisations, including Transparency International and Thomson Reuters.

The conference was held at Marlborough House, Pall Mall, and looked at ways to prevent corruption, uphold rules of law, support whistle-blowers, and use data and digital technologies to fight corruption.

Today's anti-corruption summit is being hosted by David Cameron, the British prime minister, and aims to agree a package of practical steps to expose and drive out corruption.

Mr Cameron said corruption was “an enemy of progress and the root of so many of the world's problems”.

He added: “It destroys jobs and holds back economic growth, traps the poorest in desperate poverty and undermines our security by pushing people towards extremist groups.”

Mr Cameron caused controversy this week when he was caught on camera remarking to the Queen that Nigeria and Afghanistan are among “the most corrupt countries in the world”. Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari and Afghanistan's Ashraf Ghani are among the leaders attending the summit.

Meanwhile, Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, yesterday said corruption has “a pernicious effect” on the world economy.

In an essay, she claimed that $2 trillion in bribe money courses through developing and developed countries each year.

Ms Lagarde said corruption hinders domestic and foreign investment and leads to less social spending on education and healthcare, which mostly hurts the poor.

In Britain: Bob Richards, the finance minister, is expected to attend today's anti-corruption summit in London. Yesterday he opened Hamilton Insurance Group's new office (Photograph by Doug Southall)
Global problem: Patricia Scotland, secretary-general of the Commonwealth with Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari both attended the anti-corruption conference in London (Photograph by Leon Neal/Pool/AP)

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Published May 12, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated May 12, 2016 at 3:51 pm)

Richards attends London anti-corruption summit

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