Today will be remembered as a milestone for progress on tax justice. We’d like to think of it as the first steps into a true post-#PanamaPapers era when real, concrete action was taken by Members of the European Parliament towards achieving financial transparency in the public interest. Today we’re suddenly much closer to ending anonymous ownership of companies and trusts that operate in the European Union.
Markus Meinzer of the Tax Justice Network says:
“This is a great moment for tax justice and for the European Union, set to lead again on financial transparency which counters corruption and helps restore fair market competition. The most important measure was the inclusion of public registries that cover all companies and trusts. But the EU Parliament went further and successfully pushed back on a fatal loophole that would have allowed senior managers of companies to be registered as beneficial owners. The icing on the cake is the broadening of the definition of a beneficial owner to a threshold of 10% of ownership/control in an entity (instead of 25% and above previously), and that a business relationship has to be terminated if no beneficial owner can be identified.”
So, what now? As transparency campaigner Richard Murphy says here,
“The coming months will be crucial to ensuring Member States do not backtrack on this step towards full company and trust ownership disclosure. The European Parliament, the Commission and the Members States will discuss the changes to the Directive in trialogue negotiations and a final decision is expected before the summer.”
There’s a new book out that looks very interesting reading from Professor Jason Sharman with the rather catchy title: The Despot’s Guide to Wealth Management: On the International Campaign against Grand Corruption. It has been reviewed here in The Economist. We haven’t read it yet, but this study of kleptocracy looks worth reading, and the amounts of money stolen are staggering. The estimates on Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak are as high as $70bn.
Trusts – the hole in the EU’s response to the Panama Papers? Global Witness
See also, our report Trusts – Weapons of Mass Injustice
HSBC discloses tax evasion probes in India other countries Economic Times
Probes in U.S., France, Belgium, Argentina … See also: HSBC Sets Aside $773 Million for Tax Authority Investigations Bloomberg BNA
Despots’ jackpots – Why it is so difficult to hold kleptocrats accountable The Economist
“Despite improvements, fighting grand corruption remains a struggle”
Who Makes the Rules on Illicit Financial Flows Financial Transparency Coalition
Sapin II: a very opaque transparency bill in France Publish What You Pay / Oxfam France
GLOBAL TAX JUSTICE AT A CROSSROADS
SOUTHERN LEADERSHIP AND THE CHALLENGE OF TRUMP AND BREXIT
City University London, 5-6 July 2017
Tax justice stands at a crossroads. After a period of sustained but partial progress, 2017 brings with it a strong risk of deterioration. In this year’s annual conference we will:
Our February 2017 podcast: Financial transaction taxes to protect us from our finance sectors plus more
In the February 2017 Taxcast, our monthly podcast: how financial transaction taxes can protect us from finance sectors dragging our economies down. Plus: the Swiss referendum – taxpayers have refused to pick up the tab for corporate tax ‘reforms’. What does that mean for one of the world’s biggest tax haven players? Also, we discuss President Trump’s valentine gift for kleptocrats and the extractives industry as he repeals anti-corruption regulations – the criminal race to the bottom is on. And, the influence of dark money, the experts in distorting democratic debate and the results of the 2017 Transparify report.
Featuring: Professor Avinash Persaud, chair of Intelligence Capital and author of Improving Resilience, Increasing Revenue: the case for modernising the UK’s stamp duty on shares, David Hillman of the Robin Hood Tax Campaign and John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. Produced and presented by Naomi Fowler for the Tax Justice Network.