We need to go hard on tax havens and disrupt their business model, say S&Ds

Stopping the large scale practices of tax evasion and protecting whistleblowers are a top priority says S&Ds, #TaxJustice, Peter Simon, Panama Papers and Bahamas Leaks, Jeppe Kofod, LuxLeaks,

Today, the European Parliament’s inquiry committee set up to investigate the Panama Papers (known as PANA) kicked off by interviewing the investigative journalists who have made the revelations on the worldwide tax evasion system.

S&D Group spokesperson for the PANA inquiry committee Peter Simon MEP said:

“It is by all means appropriate to call this concealment organised crime. We have to stop these practices because this constitutes a secret professional industry, which deliberately chooses to not take the rules seriously. This is not only about the law firm Mossack Fonseca however, but in fact involved many banks, lawyers, consultancies and other intermediaries.

“The Panama Papers and Bahamas Leaks reveal once again that we have to act globally in order to stop the concealment of assets. We have to create possibilities for sanctions, so that unco-operative states such as Panama or the Bahamas will be forced to apply more transparency.

“Moreover, the accomplices from banks, law firms and consultancies must also be brought to justice when they deliberately sell anonymous letterbox companies to money launderers, tax evaders or other criminals. In this context the EU must take a leading role and set international standards. We as the members of the inquiry committee will keep up the pressure, as the journalists present today have asked us to do.”

The European Parliament co-rapporteur and S&D Euro MP Jeppe Kofod added:

“We are failing the whistleblowers of Europe through our lack of action. We need a European framework for protecting whistleblowers like Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet.

“Right now EU member states are indicting and sentencing whistleblowers instead of praising them and protecting them. That should be cause for outrage and that needs to change now.

“We, the European Socialists & Democrats, are fighting for a strong EU legal framework that will ensure that no-one needs to fear prosecution for revealing the illegal practices of large corporations, banks or accountancy firms. Similarly we are fighting for tough penalties for those who benefit from or construct illegal tax regimes of the sort we have seen in LuxLeaks, the Panama Papers and the Bahamas Leaks.”