PANAMA PAPERS: MEPs determined to stamp out practices enabling tax evasion
After an 18-month probe into breaches of EU law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and evasion, the Panama Papers Inquiry Committee’s final recommendations to stamp out such practices were approved today. The comprehensive proposals contain, among others, a better regulation of financial intermediaries as well as a common definition of tax havens and call for improved sharing of information and better protection of whistle-blowers.
Co-Rapporteur Petr Ježek said today: “The PANA committee investigations were built on the journalists’ revelations with the aim of keeping up momentum, scrutinising relevant EU legislation and its implementation and coming up with credible recommendations on how to tackle money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion. Today, we have achieved these goals.”
“Some of our recommendations have already been considered and acted upon. However, a number of recommendations still require further attention, such as the ongoing review of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive. In the coming months, it will be crucial to maintain pressure as regards the implementation of the recommendations and additional pressure on those governments which are still not fighting the good fight.”
Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, ALDE PANA Coordinator, added: “The Panama Papers scandal uncovered the extent to which some corporations go to hide their money. Many avoid tax authorities and often end up financing terrorism or drug trafficking. We have observed how tax advisors, lawyers, financial entities, auditors and other intermediaries have acted as facilitators of money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion.”
“This report lays down the basis for what needs to be done in the future to avoid further scandals. Nevertheless, these efforts won’t be enough if we do not have the unanimous and unequivocal commitment of all institutions and member states. At this point, the Council has not given us sufficient support in this important debate and has lacked courage when it comes to listing tax havens and establishing EU sanctions.”