Making a disclosure in the public interest by an employee, director or external person, in an attempt to reveal neglect or abuses within the activities of an organisation, government body or company (or one of its business partners) that threaten public interest, its integrity and reputation. The term in English is largely positive although many languages lack a similar concept with the same connotation.


Characteristic of governments, companies, organisations and individuals of being open in the clear disclosure of information, rules, plans, processes and actions. As a principle, public officials, civil servants, the managers and directors of companies and organisations, and board trustees have a duty to act visibly, predictably and understandably to promote participation and accountability and allow third parties to easily perceive what actions are being performed.

Transfer pricing / Transfer mispricing

Transfer pricing is the process through which parent companies and/or subsidiaries of the same parent, in different countries, establish a price for goods or services between themselves. Transfer mispricing is the abusive manipulation of this process for the purpose of avoiding or reducing taxes across all entities. This takes place when related firms agree to manipulate the price of their internal transactions in order to declare less profit in higher-tax jurisdictions and therefore reduce their total tax payments. It deliberately generates profit and hides or accumulates money in the jurisdiction where the tax bill is low.

Tax haven

Tax havens are jurisdictions, including cities, states or countries that grant favourable tax treatment which can benefit non-residents. They attract relocation of economic transactions to their territory by applying no or minimal tax rates. They typically host a range of financial service providers. Many tax havens are also secrecy jurisdictions.

Tax evasion / Tax avoidance

Tax evasion is the illegal non-payment or under-payment of taxes, usually by deliberately making a false declaration or no declaration to tax authorities – such as by declaring less income, profits or gains than the amounts actually earned, or by overstating deductions. It entails criminal or civil legal penalties. Tax avoidance is the legal practice of seeking to minimise a tax bill by taking advantage of a loophole or exception to the rules, or adopting an unintended interpretation of the tax code. It usually refers to the practice of seeking to avoid paying tax by adhering to the letter of the law but opposed to the spirit of the law. Proving intention is difficult; therefore the dividing line between avoidance and evasion is often unclear.

State capture

A situation where powerful individuals, institutions, companies or groups within or outside a country use corruption to influence a nation’s policies, legal environment and economy to benefit their own private interests.


The act of a person asking, ordering or enticing someone else to commit bribery or another crime.

Shell company

A shell company or corporation is a limited liability entity having no physical presence in their jurisdiction, no employees and no commercial activity. It is usually formed in a tax haven or secrecy jurisdiction and its main or sole purpose is to insulate the real beneficial owner from taxes, disclosure or both. Shell companies are also referred to as international business companies, personal investment companies, front companies, or “mailbox”/”letterbox” companies.

Secrecy jurisdiction

Secrecy jurisdictions are territories, including cities, states/provinces and countries that encourage the relocation of otherwise foreign economic and financial transactions through strong privacy protection rules. These jurisdictions ensure that the identity of those relocating their money through them cannot be disclosed. This often undermines legislation and regulation of another jurisdiction. Many secrecy jurisdictions are also tax havens.

Rule of law

Legal and political systems, structures and practices that condition a government’s actions to protect citizens’ rights and liberties, maintain law and order, and encourage the effective functioning of the country.