Eighteen professional bodies from around the UK, repersenting members in the legal and accountancy sectors, today issued a pledge against corruption in all its forms, as leaders of the G20 nations gather in London for the anti-corruption summit hosted by the UK Government.
The statement commits the organisations, convened by the Law Society of England & Wales, to continue their work to tackle bribery, corruption, tax-evasion, money laundering and the financing of international terrorism. Those taking part include the Law Society of Scotland and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland.
The statement reads:
"Bribery and corruption represent serious threats to economic growth, individual livelihoods and civil society across the world.
"For many years, professional bodies have worked alongside government, regulators, law enforcement and international bodies and supported our members to combat bribery, corruption, tax-evasion, money laundering and the financing of international terrorism. We will continue this work and provide support to facilitate national and international co-operation and to improve monitoring and enforcement systems.
"We deplore corruption and the significant harm it causes; we play a vital role in training, educating and supporting our professions to uphold the highest levels of integrity and ethical standards.
"We know criminals seek to abuse the services provided by our members to launder the proceeds of corruption and we are committed to ensuring the professions we serve are armed with the tools to thwart this abuse.
"We stand united in the fight against corruption in all its forms and are committed to sharing knowledge, skills and intelligence with our fellow professionals and with all agencies fighting this cause."
Jonathan Smithers, President of the Law Society of England & Wales, commented: "The UK has a leading role to play in tackling this blight. We already have some of the toughest anti-money laundering rules, and the profession of solicitors along with accountants and others stand united against corruption in all its forms."
Christine McLintock, President of the Law Society of Scotland, added: “We fully support this initiative. It’s important that we work alongside the UK Government and our colleagues across the legal and financial sectors to ensure that UK is a hostile environment for anyone involved in fraud or corruption."
Michael Izza, chief executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales, said: “Corruption does not just enrich criminals; it does untold damage to society and business by undermining trust. This is why professional bodies work with national and international regulators and law enforcement to support our members' efforts to combat all forms of financial crime. Today’s pledge is a commitment to continue that fight for the very highest standards of ethics and integrity.”
The list of signatories is: The Law Society of England and Wales; The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners; The Law Society of Northern Ireland; The Law Society of Scotland; The International Federation of Accountants; The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants; The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy; The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland; Chartered Accountants Ireland, The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants; The Association of Taxation Technicians; The Association of International Accountants; The Chartered Institute of Taxation; The International Association of Book-Keepers; The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers; The Institute of Financial Accountants; UK200.