Transparency isn’t just a nice-to-do for businesses. It’s essential, says Charmian Gooch, the anti-corruption crusader who accepted the TED Prize tonight. On the TED2014 stage, Gooch revealed her wish for the world. “My wish is for us to know who owns and controls companies, so that they can no longer be used anonymously against the public good,” she said in a powerful talk. “Let’s ignite world opinion, change the law, and together launch a new era of openness in business.”
Gooch—and her organization Global Witness—is launching a public campaign to end the practice of anonymous companies. They created this animation to illustrate what can happen when there’s no reporting on who is profiting from a business’ operation. While the video is called “The Grin,” it’s no laughing matter.
Watch the video and share it widely. And below, many more resources where you can read up on corruption and how to turn the tide:
- The End Anonymous Companies page on Facebook. This will be the hub of the campaign — like and share it.
- Anonymous companies: A Global Witness briefing. Why is hidden company ownership a problem? This brief explains it all. Also in French and German.
- A glossary of corruption from Transparency International. This will help you uncrack jargon like “Base Erosion” and “Mutual Legal Assitance,” with adorable, easy-to-understand animations.
- The Idiot’s Guide to Money Laundering. This humorous pamphlet from Global Witness gives you step-by-step instructions for how to launder money by setting up a shell company in a location — like Switzerland, the British Virgin Islands, the Maldives, the Netherlands and the state of Delaware — where company ownership can be a secret.
- The curious case of the Nigerian oil block. A Global Witness case study on how an anonymous shell company led to a convicted money launderer receive more than $1 billion from a Nigerian oil deal.
- Undue Diligence: How banks do business with corrupt regimes. Many blamed the banks in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis. But this report from Global Witness shows how long-term failures by banks have damaged the poorest countries in the world for many years.