David Cameron attacked after Fifa not invited to anti-corruption summit

Posted On: 
11th May 2016

David Cameron has come under fire after it emerged that world football body Fifa was not invited to attend a major anti-corruption conference.

Sepp Blatter was suspended as Fifa president amid corruption allegations
Credit: 
PA Images

No representatives from offshore tax haven the British Virgin Islands have been asked to attend the event, which takes place in London today, either.

The Prime Minister has said he wants the summit to help spearhead the fight against the "cancer" of corruption around the world.

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Leaders from 12 countries will attend the conference, as well as representatives from a further 31.

They include Nigeria and Afghanistan, which Mr Cameron was caught on camera describing as "fantastically corrupt" during a conversation with the Queen at Buckingham Palace yesterday.

Representatives from UK crown dependencies Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Gidbraltar, Jersey and the Isle of Man will be there.

Sporting bodies the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee will also be in attendance for a special session on corruption in sport.

But it is the ommission of Fifa - which has been embroiled in a long-running corruption controversy - and the British Virgin Islands which has raised eyebrows.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson told PoliticsHome: "What's the point of having an anti-corruption summit if you fail to invite either the overseas territory that profits from it or the sports body that's become a byword for corruption?

"Like so many Cabinet Office initiatives, this is shaping up to be a failure before it's even started."

Downing Street last night insisted today's summit was just the start of a co-ordinated global effort to tackle corruption.

"The IOC and IPC represent multiple sports and they are coming," he said. "If we can get those sorts of organisations on side, it gives you greater momentum to get other organisations on board. The people who are coming are not the only people we are having discussions with on how to tackle corruption."

The summit will force foreign companies that already hold or want to buy property in the UK will be forced to reveal who really owns them, it emerged last night.

In an article for the Guardian Mr Cameron has also announced plans for a new corporate offence for executives who fail to prevent fraud or money laundering in their companies.

Forty jurisdictions, including a number of Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies with major financial centres will also automatically share information on who owns shares in the companies registered there.

In a statement Mr Cameron said: "The evil of corruption reaches into every corner of the world. It lies at the heart of the most urgent problems we face – from economic uncertainty, to endemic poverty, to the ever-present threat of radicalisation and extremism.

"A global problem needs a truly global solution. It needs an unprecedented, courageous commitment from world leaders to stand united, to speak into the silence, and to demand change.

"That is why I am hosting this summit. Today is just the start of a more co-ordinated, ambitious global effort to defeat corruption."