**Use of Corporate Vehicles For Illicit Purposes**

A new study issued August 5 warns that the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), by overlooking its own member states, is failing to tackle effectively the use of corporate entities for illicit purposes. The OECD represents the world’s 30 richest countries, felt to control most of the global trade in financial services for non-residents.

In an attempt to provide a broader and more objective basis for policy formulation, the International Tax and Investment Organisation (ITIO) and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) commissioned international law firm Stikeman Elliott to conduct a review of the OECD’s report *”Behind the Corporate Veil: Using Corporate Entities for Illicit Purposes”.* That report, issued in November 2001, calls on governments and regulatory authorities to ensure they were able to obtain information on the beneficial ownership and control of “corporate vehicles” in order to combat their misuse for illicit purposes.

On Monday, ITIO and STEP issued a study *”Towards A Level Playing Field”*, which includes a comprehensive review of the regulation of corporations, trusts and limited partnerships in fifteen OECD and non-OECD countries. The sponsoring organisations have noted that the report, intended as a constructive contribution to the corporate vehicles debate, takes a broader view than the OECD, comparing OECD members with non-members. This is the first time that such directly comparable information has been made available.

ITIO is a grouping of small and developing economies established last year to help SDEs respond to global tax and investment challenges. It explicitly considers the development implications of these challenges. The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) is the professional body for the trust and estate profession worldwide.

Comments on the draft review can be forwarded to the ITIO by August 30, 2002, prior to publication of the final review later in the year.