Two key committees at the European Parliament have today voted on the EP’s position today which aims to do more in the fight against tax evasion across the EU.

The vote was passed by the Committees on Economic & Monetary Affairs (ECON) and Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on the Commission’s amendment to the EU’s anti-money laundering directive (AMLD), released in July 2016 after the Panama Papers revelations.

The final text for the updated rules will be settled during the so-called trialogue negotiations between the Council of member state governments, the Commission and the Parliament in the months ahead.

GUE/NGL Co-Shadow Rapporteur for the AMLD Rina Ronja Kari comments on the outcome of the vote:

“Today's vote had a very positive outcome and the ground has been laid for a progressive fight against tax evasion.”

“But we still have a long way to go with the seriously-flawed blacklist of high-risk third countries and the lack of criticism of tax havens inside the EU,” continued Kari.

“The Parliament must stand firm on the position that was passed by the Committees earlier today: positions that include a lower threshold for the definition of beneficial owners of letterbox companies; and harsher sanctions on breaches of the requirements that are agreed upon in the directive, and consequently the termination of the business relationship between bank and customer – when the true beneficiaries of a company try to hide behind the straw men,” said the Danish MEP.

GUE/NGL Co-Shadow Rapporteur for the AMLD and Vice-President of the Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA) Fabio De Masi added:

“The Council is likely to oppose the bold but necessary reforms that we agreed upon in the Parliament. Ministers have to put their cards on the table now and make clear whether they serve the interest of tax and other criminals or the majority of the people.”

“The current Maltese presidency has an abysmal track record in the fight against money laundering and tax dodging at home and is therefore under tight scrutiny.”

“We will make public any attempts to water down those rules in closed-door negotiations. There should be zero tolerance against money laundering and tax dumping,” argued De Masi.

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