UPDATE: 15 February 2017, London – Bloomberg has reported that the chairman of the EU’s Panama Papers inquiry has criticised the UK Treasury for refusing to meet with its investigatory team during the recent fact-finding visit to London. Read more here.
Last year the Panama Papers scandal shook the world and lifted the lid on murky offshore dealings in spectacular fashion. The political consequences and investigations, criminal and otherwise are far from over. The European Parliament set up the Panama Papers inquiry committee tasked with investigating “alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application by the EU Commission or member states of EU laws on money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion.” Today Bloomberg reports that the committee begins a series of ‘secret fact-finding meetings’ in London for two days. It has come to the heart of the beast.
Coming out of the economic crisis Ireland was one of the best performing economies, with GDP growth rates of 8.5% in 2014 and an extraordinary 26.3% in 2015. But how much of this economic activity was real, and how much a fiction created by Ireland’s tax haven status? A new paper by Heike Joebges of the University of Applied Science in Berlin considers the evidence.
Over the years, we’ve chronicled the tax haven denial of many secrecy jurisdictions, even building a partial list of those who have publicly claimed “We are not a tax haven!” Now, at the prompting of tax twitter (notably Mary Cosgrove and Stephanie Johnston, with honourable mentions to Aisling Donoghue, Toby Quantrill and Richard Smith), we thought we’d have a go at crowdsourcing a more full listing.
This is being done as part of the Open Data for Tax Justice project which TJN and our partners at Open Knowledge International have set up with Omidyar Network support, to which new members are always welcome (our major focus at the moment is on the creation of a public database of country-by-country reporting – on which your views are sought).
French activists occupy a branch of BNP Paribas to protest against that bank’s deep engagement in offshore secrecy jurisdictions.
EU governments are very close to agreeing the criteria for the EU tax haven blacklist, expected to be finalised around September 2017 so the list can be endorsed by the end of 2017.