US Secretary of State John Kerry said the threat of corruption "is as much of an enemy" to society as extremism. Speaking at the opening of the global anti-corruption summit in London he said corruption "destroys nation states" and "tears at the entire fabric of society", making populations vulnerable to violent ideology.
"The extremism we see in the world today comes in no small degree from the utter exasperation that people have with the sense that the system is rigged," he said, adding that he has been "shocked" by the "pandemic" corruption he has experienced in his role as Secretary of State.
"People are angry and the anger is going to grow unless we shut the doors and try to prove to people there's a fairness that can be established in the system," he continued.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron described corruption as "the cancer at the heart of so many problems we need to tackle in the world", but insisted "real progress" was already being made by participating countries, who made individual pledges ahead of the conference.
The prime minister announced that a public registry of property ownership across the UK would be set up in an attempt to stem the amount of money laundered through London's housing market. Any foreign company that wants to buy property in Britain or bid for a government contract will have to sign up to the new register of beneficial ownership.
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari proposed an action plan to recover assets gained through corruption that have been smuggled across borders. Cameron was overheard calling Nigeria "fantastically corrupt" just before the summit during a meeting with the Queen. Buhari has asked for the assistance of international institutions that often facilitate the siphoning and concealing of assets to help him stem the flow of illicit funds.
"Nigeria is calling on this summit to create an anti-corruption infrastructure and a strategic action plan that will include the monitoring, tracing and facilitating the recovery of stolen funds and assets hidden in secret accounts abroad", Buhari pleaded.