Strengthening Beneficial Ownership Investigations in Indonesia

Indonesia (Online), 26 October 2021 - The 2019 UNODC Threat Assessment notes that criminal networks in Southeast Asia often hire money laundering specialists able to exploit gaps in the financial transparency frameworks. The ability to con-ceal true owners of criminally derived monies and assets is a key aspect of the profitability of many forms of crime. One common scheme involves the use of shell companies, through which criminals can control assets in direct or indirect form, often through a director, shareholder, or intermediary.

The summary of a UNODC webinar on beneficial ownership in Southeast Asia can be found here

To improve technical awareness among law enforcement agencies, UNODC and Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) have pro-duced a “Guide on Investigations to Identify Beneficial Ownership in Corruption Cases”, in Bahasa Indonesia. The guide looks at practical ways in which investigators and prosecutors in Indonesia can draw on legal frameworks, resources and partnerships to enhance transparency, building on existing progress already underway at the national level.

To launch the guide, and to introduce key stakeholders to the steps it lays out, UNODC and KPK held a Workshop on Beneficial Ownership Investigations, from 26-27 Octo-ber 2021. The event brought together officers specializing in anti-corruption, financial investigations, forestry crime and prosecution, as well as civil society organizations, and drew on a series of recent case studies in the context of Indonesia.

More on UNODC’s recent work on benefi-cial ownership in Indonesia is available here

At the event, Mr. Francesco Checchi (UNODC Anti-Corruption Adviser) outlined the vari-ous ways in which beneficial ownership can be obscured, such as by using shell companies, complex layers of ownership and control structures, formal and informal nominee shareholders, bearer shares, and the use of trusts. He also outlined current debates on ways to further improve beneficial owner-ship transparency, encapsulated in the recent white paper by the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF).

Slide presented by Mr. Danu Mahardika (Cooperation Specialist, KPK) showing the various benefits of adopting enhanced measures on beneficial ownership, such as facilitating asset tracing, improving transparency and creating a better investment climate.

To leverage the impact of Indonesia’s beneficial ownership registry, Mr. Mochamad Hadiyana (Deputy for Information and Data, KPK) explained that more work was underway to connect up structured datasets, to expand the infor-mation available to those working together to prevent corruption. Consistently, Mr. Santun Maspari Siregar (Civil Director at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights) discussed how beneficial ownership threshold levels for different forms of data reflected risk differentials, which emerging technology could harness to help agencies predict cases of concern.

This event was part of activities funded by the Government of the Republic of Korea and by prosperity programming from the Government of the United Kingdom. Footage (where available) and written summaries of UNODC webinars are publicly available via our web-site.

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