People involved in the Panama Papers must appear before the Parliament, says Pittella

S&D Group leader Gianni Pittella today calls on the EU to take tough measures to fight tax evasion following new revelations of the Panama Papers.

Gianni Pittella said:
"The Panama Papers is the biggest leak ever on illegal tax practices involving the use of tax havens and money laundering. The European Parliament, which is already working very hard on the issues of tax fraud and tax evasion, cannot turn a blind eye to such new revelations. This case involves former and current heads of states of governments, politicians, stars from the world of sport, arts and the media. It raises many issues such as the role of banks - including those rescued with public money during the financial crisis - in helping rich people hide their money in tax havens and evade tax in their own country. This is a provocation in the eyes of ordinary citizens who pay their taxes and criminals must be severely punished.
"The socialists and democrats will push for change. We want to invite Panama representatives and people proved to be involved to appear before the TAXE committee. We will also work on tough measures to combat tax fraud, tax avoidance, including money laundering. The EU should be on the frontline on all these topics.
"We need to increase transparency of who actually owns and/or benefits from these shell companies. We need to sanction those who advise people on how to evade tax. Any bank involved in facilitating criminal behaviour must face real sanctions including having its business licence revoked. We also need a European blacklist of tax havens.
"The Panama Papers show that the illegal tax practices are a global phenomenon thus requiring a global strategy. We are calling for a global summit against tax treachery with all the main international players to create the conditions for a fairer tax system."