(4 December 2017) On Friday 1st December the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) sent a letter to Members of the European Parliament demanding a new enquiry committee to investigate tax fraud, tax evasion, tax avoidance and all procedures that big multinationals use in order not to pay their fair share of tax. The letter follows the latest leak, known as Paradise Paper, the 13.4 million leaked documents mainly from the Bermuda-based law firm Appleby are connected to the big 4 audit firms and deserve in-depth investigations at national and EU levels.
As with the Luxleaks and Panama Papers, what is at stake are undeclared profits or income, which is illegal, and profit shifting which lie in a grey zone; in some cases it is legal, in others it may be found illegal as shown by the EC state aid investigations of a number of companies (Fiat, Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, and others in the pipeline – McDonald’s; Engie; and the UK’s non application of anti-tax avoidance rules to multinationals).
This new “Paradise” committee should address and draw conclusions from the new leaks and build upon the results and conclusions of the Panama papers committee. Companies and individuals caught in the tax scandal must be held accountable to the public. As of today, only one public figure caught up in the Paradise papers has resigned, Chair of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise Leif Östling.
Tomorrow the European Commission is set to unveil their blacklist of tax havens, this again, will be an occasion to get the new Paradise enquiry committee going.