Nick Shaxson ■ Mailbox companies and human rights: the Dutch connection
From our colleagues at SOMO in the Netherlands, an excellent article translated from the original in the Volkskrant newspaper. While it focuses on the Netherlands, it is another sign of the growing global awareness of the links between human rights and tax haven and secrecy jurisdiction abuses. Read more about tax havens and human rights here.
“With one click of the mouse, you can order an ‘anonymous tax free private or public limited company’ and benefit from guarantees of ‘absolute confidentiality for the company’s beneficiaries and shareholders and the highest possible protection for the company’s management and executive’. This is how the self-proclaimed biggest legal advisor for offshore holding constructions in the Netherlands, Quaedvlieg Juristen of The Hague, presents the attractive Dutch tax climate.
This climate is attractive to dictators such as Gadaffi and Suharto and companies such as Enron, Trafigura and Parmalat alike. The book The Tax Paradise (Het Belastingparadijs) describes in detail how almost all the recent big business scandals (including the three mentioned above) involved anonymous Dutch letterbox companies. Tax evasion and the Dutch fiscal climate have been under scrutiny in the past few years. But less attention has been paid to the relationship between letterbox constructions and controversial practices such as bribery, corruption, whitewashing operations and human rights violations.
The Netherlands not only facilitates the undermining of tax bases in other countries, it also helps corrupt elites and companies which are involved in human rights violations by providing fiscal services without making demands on company practices, transparency or accountability.”