Newspaper headlines: Corruption battle and BBC future

The global battle against corruption, and proposals for the BBC's royal charter renewal, make the headlines.

As the UK prepares to host an anti-corruption summit, the Times says David Cameron will announce new criminal offences for businesses that fail to stop their workers engaging in fraud.

The Times says the law change will give agencies such as the Serious Fraud Office powers similar to those available to US authorities to go after big businesses in economic crime and corruption cases.

Until now, the paper continues, British prosecutors have been impeded by a legal requirement to identify the "controlling mind" in a company then link that individual directly to criminality.

"The corporate crime reform was promised in the Conservative Party manifesto last year and included in the government's anti-corruption plan," reports the Times.

"There was resistance from ministers who said that it would be bad for business but revelations after last month's Panama Papers leak of secret offshore dealings changed the atmosphere."

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Image caption David Cameron welcomes leaders including Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari

The paper notes that the summit at Lancaster House in central London will be attended by representatives of more than 50 countries.

The Telegraph reports that official figures show that the 10 most corrupt countries in the world have received £2.7bn of aid since Mr Cameron became prime minister.

The Guardian says Mr Cameron has revealed plans to require all foreign companies buying property in the UK to disclose their true owner in a public register for the first time.

The Financial Times reports: "Mr Cameron pledged last year to stem the 'dirty money' flowing into British properties, more than £120bn of which are owned by offshore companies.

"Pressure for progress increased following the Panama Papers' revelations about offshore investments and the prime minister's own admission that he had benefited from offshore assets."

The i says Mr Cameron, however, faced calls for the UK to get its own house in order and reform offshore tax havens in its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories.


'Traps poorest in poverty'

Writing in the Guardian, Mr Cameron says corruption is the "cancer" at the heart of so many of the world's problems.

"It destroys jobs, traps the poorest in poverty, weakens security and even undermines the sports we love," he says.

"The longer I have been in this job, the more I have come to the conclusion that the things we want to see - countries moving out of poverty, people benefiting from their nation's natural resources, the growth of genuine democracies - will never be possible without an all-out assault on corruption."

In a comment piece in the Times, President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan describes corruption as a "sickness".

He says: "Corruption destroys our people's faith that their leaders will end their poverty rather than line their pockets. Corruption lets the drug trade finance extremist insurgency. And facing the corruption of foreign aid, corruption is what makes poor people in rich countries pay for rich people in poor countries."

In a leading article, the Times says public indifference is the accomplice of the corrupt.

"If the London summit is to succeed it must become part of an unfolding process that encourages whistleblowers, strengthens the independence of courts and law enforcers, and gives flanking support to fearless questioning by citizens of their governments and bureaucrats," it says.

In the view of the Telegraph, British taxpayers could be forgiven for feeling bemused that Mr Cameron's government "continues to distribute ever-larger sums of their money in countries he admits suffer rampant corruption".

"Ministers insist they spend to support specific development projects and trusted charities, and do not give directly to light-fingered governments. But the risk that British aid ends up in kleptocrats' pockets remains significant," it continues.


Stars' salaries

The papers look ahead to the government's White Paper on the future of the BBC which will be published on Thursday - and the pay of the top stars appears to be the hot topic.

It makes the lead for the i, which says the corporation's independence will be secured by a "radical overhaul" of its governance and an end to licence fee negotiations "behind closed doors".

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has succeeded in forcing the BBC to reveal the salaries of stars paid more than £450,000, it adds.

The Guardian reports that Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, Top Gear's Chris Evans and chat show host Graham Norton will be among those affected.

The paper says: "The broadcaster will be told to reveal the pay of presenters who earn more than the £450,000 a year paid to the director general, Tony Hall - a plan described as a 'poachers' charter' by media executives, who suggest that the broadcaster's rivals could use the new rules to pick off the BBC's best-paid presenters."

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Image caption The BBC's royal charter is up for renewal

The Times says there was disappointment among some Conservative MPs at the decision not to bring BBC pay into line with the public sector.

The Times continues: "They also sounded the alarm as it emerged that the government was no longer seeking to appoint a majority of members to a new ruling body for the BBC."

"Watchdog to get teeth into BBC finances," is the headline in the Telegraph, which talks of a "stringent new governance regime".

The paper says Mr Whittingdale will warn that the BBC "must never again be allowed to mark its own homework".

"The National Audit Office will become the BBC's financial auditor," the Telegraph continues, "with free rein to examine the corporation's books, while Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog, will become its official regulator, ensuring independent oversight of complaints about impartiality and accuracy for the first time."


Political first

On a lighter note, Boaty McBoatface refuses to sink away from the news - captured in an entertaining political sketch by Patrick Kidd in the Times.

In case you are unaware, Boaty McBoatface won a public poll to name Britain's new polar research ship - it will be named RRS Sir David Attenborough instead but one of its remotely operated sub-sea vehicles will be called Boaty.

His piece starts: "David Cameron has reached the point when a PM's thoughts turn to his legacy. He's won a couple of elections, and may get a third referendum victory, but when they come to write the history of the Cameron Era, what unique achievements will he be hailed for?

"Here's one: at six minutes past 12 yesterday, Mr Cameron became the first politician in parliamentary history to say 'Boaty McBoatface' in the chamber of either House, a reference to the submarine on the new RRS Sir David Attenborough."

Kidd wonders, as the first journalist to write that the name was attracting votes, whether a Pulitzer Prize might be in the post.