At a joint-meeting between the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) at the European Parliament today, the Commission's re-worked blacklist that underpins the anti-money laundering directive was voted down thanks to an GUE/NGL initiative. If the outcome is confirmed at the plenary session in January, the Commission will have to draw up a new list.
After the vote, German MEP Fabio De Masi, Vice-President of the Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA) and GUE/NGL shadow rapporteur for the anti-money laundering directive, said:
“The Commission's proposal was completely insufficient. Despite new scandals surfacing all the time, well-known offshore jurisdictions are still being ignored. For months now, the Parliament’s been demanding improvements. Today, thanks to our initiative, MEPs have rejected the Commission's proposal. So at least our continuous fight here in the Parliament against offshore secrecy has had an impact,” he surmised.
“All the PANA Committee hearings have so far come to the same conclusion. Be it Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, or the journalists behind the leaks, or member state administrations fighting financial crime: everyone has demanded effective measures against tax havens. These places allow the super rich, companies and criminals to steal from the public and hide their wrongdoings and wealth.”
“The Commission must do its homework and produce a new list.”
“Furthermore, we have to finally close the loopholes in the laws against money laundering. We need clear transparency when it comes to shell companies and we have to outlaw conducting business with firms which do not want to name their real owners,” De Masi continued.
“If bankers and lawyers want to continue making money with tax evasion and money laundering, then we have to take away their business licenses. We had already demanded this in the final report of the LuxLeaks Inquiry Committee here at the Parliament. In relation to this, just in the past week we have proposed detailed and concrete amendments to the current legal framework,” the German MEP concluded.