Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen exposes of the rich and powerful’s extensive tax evasion and money laundering. The International Consortium for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published Pandoras Papers in October, which consist of the largest tax data leak of all time. Following the revelations, the European Parliament adopted last Thursday a resolution. It criticised the European Commission for failing to do enough to tackle money laundering, tax evasion, and avoidance in member states and globally. In the wake of this resolution, Heinz Bierbaum, President of the Party of the European Left, said:
“The Pandora Papers demonstrate that policy responses to previous scandals are insufficient to combat tax fraud and money laundering. High-ranking European politicians have been accused of engaging in dodgy offshore dealings, which needs to be addressed with strict ramifications”.
11.9 million documents from a total of 14 financial service providers were compiled and analysed by 600 journalists from 117 countries. 956 companies active in offshore accounts are now linked to 336 high-ranking politicians and government officials, including presidents, cabinet ministers, ambassadors, and other political figures. In more than two-thirds of the cases, these accounts were based in the British Virgin Islands.
“The EU has a tool to combat tax avoidance: the blacklist of tax havens. A revision of the blacklist was on the table for EU finance ministers meeting two days after the Pandora Papers disclosures. Instead of responding to the circumstances, the ministers decided to delete three jurisdictions. The EP resolution is indeed a clear message in favour of strictly enforcing anti-money laundering legislation, but without increasing the flow of tax-relevant information the European Union will not improve the status quo.
Unless we leave no stone unturned, we are facing the same danger of repeating these expositions for the next years to come. The EU blacklist of tax havens should be able to detect offenders. For now, it acts as a decorative prop. We remain vigilant and will continue following the matter closely until every loophole is covered”.
Image source: ICIJ