Following massive new leaks in financial documents known as the Pandora Papers, EU lawmakers called for more action against money laundering and tax evasion, and urged EU finance ministers to tackle global criminals. Requested to review the blacklist.
The Pandora Papers are the latest in a series of document leaks over the years. Published by a consortium of investigative journalists, they show how political and economic elites around the world circumvent anti-money laundering regulations and evade taxes through a network of mailbox companies.
European figures implicated in the document leak include Tony Blair, former UK prime minister, Czech Prime Minister Ledi Babi and Dutch Finance Minister Vopke Hoekstra.
In response to the Pandora Papers, EU lawmakers called for more effective EU action in the fight against money laundering and tax evasion.
Although some EU member states have experienced similar data leaks in the past, most of the states shown in the Pandora Papers are tax havens outside the EU.
To target such tax havens, the European Union created a blacklist of “non-cooperative tax areas” in 2017 which has been revised regularly since then. However, many of the tax havens mentioned in the Pandora Papers are not on the EU blacklist.
According to Johann Langrock, political adviser to the European Greens, this shortcoming can be explained by weak norms and political considerations.
“To combat tax evasion and money laundering, it is important to know who is the beneficial owner of a company or legal entity. However, this criterion is still not included in the EU blacklist, which makes this tool less effective. is,” he said.
EU finance ministers must decide on the blacklist
Even more countries are expected to be blacklisted when EU finance ministers meet on 5 October. After the recent blacklist review, ministers are expected to approve the removal of the three countries.
Marcus Ferber of the EPP group in the European Parliament criticized the move:
“EU finance ministers’ plans to further reduce EU blacklists this week sends the wrong signal. should be added,” Ferber said.
Socialist MP Paul Tang agreed and urged European finance ministers to do more.
“The list of EU tax havens and the method used to compile them is completely inadequate. Strong reforms are needed, starting tomorrow when EU finance ministers will discuss the list,” said the Dutch MP on Twitter Wrote.
In addition, Dutch Finance Minister Vopke Hoekstra should exclude himself from the decision, as his name also appears in the Pandora Papers.
Sven Gigold, Green member of the European Parliament and a longtime advocate of tax issues, said the new data leak should be a wake-up call. He stressed the need to know the actual owners of mailbox companies and real estate.
His stand on the meeting of finance ministers was even more acrimonious.
“EU finance ministers should defer tomorrow’s decision on the EU’s list of tax havens to avoid embarrassment and ensure that the list is fit for purpose and includes all global tax havens.”
So far, the council, which meets EU-27 ministers, has given no indication of any change in plans.
However, the European Parliament changed its agenda for this week’s plenary session to include a debate on the Pandora Papers on Wednesday afternoon (October 6).
New Anti-Money Laundering Rules Recently Proposed
The Pandora Papers were published just two months after the European Commission proposed a legislative package to strengthen the European framework to combat money laundering in Europe.
The European Union has long been hesitant to implement its anti-money laundering rules because some member states were reluctant to do so. To address this problem, in July the Commission proposed a new anti-money-laundering regulation and a European anti-money-laundering agency.
The new framework would give the EU more powers to combat money laundering in EU countries, despite resistance from member states. The proposals still have to be discussed by Parliament and the Council.
[Bearbeitet von Zoran Radosavljevic]
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