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G7 Elmau: Initiatives in Sanctions, Illicit Financial Flows and Corruption

Denisse Rudich, G7 Research Group London
July 1, 2022

Over three days, from June 26 to 28, 2022, G7 leaders met at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria and deliberated many topics. Although the Russian war in Ukraine dominated, numerous additional initiatives were discussed related to illicit financial flows.

Sanctions

G7 leaders have committed to using coordinated, targeted sanctions to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine. As part of the G7 Statement on Support for Ukraine, they indicated that they would "remain steadfast" in their use of "unprecedented coordinated sanctions measures" in response to Ukraine's conflict. This is with a view to "sustaining and intensifying international political pressure" on both Russia and its Belarussian enablers. The statement included an annex on Supporting Ukraine Through Responsible Sanctions.

The G7 committed to carrying out the following actions:

These statements are intended to defend the "international rules-based order," one of the premises upon with the G7 was founded. It is also with a view to increasing the costs of war for Russia, with the impact of sanctions "compound[ing] over time.

G7 leaders further indicated that they would support humanitarian efforts and allow for the free flow of agricultural products. They will also take steps to minimize adverse spill-over effects on emerging and mid-market economies. They call on countries to defend the United Nations Charter and follow suit in implementing sanctions. G7 leaders will intensify their cooperation via the work of the Russia Proxies and Oligarchs Task Force and look forward to identifying additional measures to take.

At his press briefing after the summit, French president Emmanuel Macron stated that "sanctions will remain as long and as much as possible and with the necessary intensity."

Illicit Finance and Corruption

In their communiqué, G7 leaders also made several commitments related to illicit financial flows. The pledged to deepen their cooperation in fighting violent extremism and terrorism, which is likely to include action against terrorist financing. Countries pledged to strengthen institutions against "foreign information manipulation" and disinformation. During the summit, Canada issued sanctions against persons identified as driving misinformation.

G7 leaders also committed to strengthening their internal security, including boosting cyberdefence, and preventing illicit finance and effectiveness of law enforcement, particularly against threats posed by authoritarian regimes and Russia. They stated that they would strengthen the fight against transactional organized crime, cybercrime, environmental crime and human trafficking. In the area of human trafficking, they explicitly indicated that they would fight on-line and off-line child sexual abuse and sexual and labour exploitation of women and children. They committed to working more closely with civil society and international actors including Interpol and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, particularly in "fragile contexts."

In the field of corruption, the G7 pledged to take a whole-of-society approach and stop "democratic backsliding." They recognized that illicit financial flows linked to corruption "drain public resources, can often fuel organised crime, enable kleptocratic systems to accumulate wealth and power at the expense of citizens, undermine democratic governance." The G7 stated that Russia's attack on Ukraine has shown how "kleptocracies pose an immediate threat to the freedom and national security of our societies." They reaffirmed that they would step up the fight against corruption. To that end, they welcomed the Financial Action Task Force's work on enhancing standards on beneficial ownership transparency and committed to speeding up work on beneficial ownership transparency by improving the timelines, accuracy and adequacy of registers. G7 leaders said that they would widen the global fight against "cross-border corruption" and support African partners to establish 15 beneficial ownership registries.

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