Panama Papers: Commission and Member States need to step up their efforts to tackle tax avoidance
Today, Members of the European Parliament's Panama Inquiry Committee are going to vote on its findings and recommendations, prepared by the Co-rapporteurs Petr Jezek (ALDE) and Jeppe Kofod (S&D).
Co-Rapporteur Petr Ježek said :
“After more than a year of thorough investigations, our conclusions are clear: had the EU and its member states played a more proactive role and adopted a more vigilant approach in the past, the problems of this magnitude could have been avoided. EU legislation on anti-money laundering and exchange of tax information was not properly implemented. We also detected a number of cases of maladministration and potential breaches of EU rules like those related to the principle of sincere cooperation.”
“The Commission and Member States need to step up their efforts to improve supervision and enforcement, not only to prevent and fight illegal practices such as money laundering, tax evasion and tax fraud, but also to prevent those which may be legal yet contrary to the spirit of the law.”
“It was with utmost grief that I learned about the murder of the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who also gave evidence to the PANA Committee delegation to Malta and I would like to extend my condolences to her family and the people of Malta. Her murder, which must be thoroughly investigated, shows that criminals are prepared to do anything to cover their tracks. I would like to pay tribute to Daphne Caruana Galizia and all investigative journalists who help to reveal corruption and other forms of crime.”
ALDE PANA Coordinator Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz added:
"We have created a perfect system to commit crimes but no system to prevent them. For months there has been a lack of sanctions despite the fact there have been breaches, both in tax and financial matters, at all levels: European, national, as well as within the obliged entities."
“Our investigations have shed some light on the role played by intermediaries (law firms, accounting firms, trust companies, banks, wealth managers etc.), a number of whom help their clients to conceal money offshore. We need a stronger European framework to ensure they play by the rules and to discourage them from facilitating money laundering, tax evasion or tax avoidance.”
"Furthermore, it is possible that the murder of the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was committed by those who do not want light to be shed on these dark businesses that move billions of euros around the world. We absolutely need to protect those at risk for unveiling corruption. The social contract and the legitimacy of democracy is at stake."