Members from the European Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA) will be paying a two-day visit to Luxembourg today – in the third of a series of fact-finding missions to investigate practices of tax evasion and money laundering, including breaches of EU law.
Over the past month, the PANA committee has already travelled to London and Malta, with a planned visit to the United States still to come at the end of March.
The contingent is due to meet with the Finance Minister and Justice Minister of Luxembourg as well as the Duchy’s Finance Committee, Chamber of Deputies, journalists, lawyers plus representatives from HSBC Luxembourg and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The Director-General of the country’s Financial Sector Surveillance Commission is also due to be present – but not the rest of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms (Ernst&Young, Deloitte and KPMG) or other major banks in Luxembourg, prominent tax advisors and lawyers.
Representing GUE/NGL will be Miguel Urbán and speaking ahead of the trip, he said:
“The Commission presents itself as leading the fight against tax havens and tax avoidance – and all the while tolerates Luxembourg remaining a tax haven along with others.”
“The biggest companies in Europe are declaring their profits in countries like Luxembourg, Ireland and the Netherlands in order to ensure the lowest tax rate possible. This is one of the main obstacles against a fairer and more egalitarian Europe.”
“On this delegation, we aim to interrogate some of the main actors responsible of this huge, democratic fraud, and to raise awareness of this ongoing scandal,” said the Spanish MEP.
GUE/NGL Vice-Chair in PANA committee Fabio De Masi added:
“Luxembourg is amongst the prime EU tax havens and also a central player in the global letterbox company business.”
“The European Parliament is making a fool of itself if it doesn't re-send invites to all those key witnesses to come to Brussels after refusing to talk to our committee this time in Luxembourg.”
“Figures like Mr Ruling Marius Kohl have avoided all public questioning since the LuxLeaks scandal and he even dodged his summons at the whistle-blowers’ court cases against Deltour, Halet and Perrin on dubious medical grounds,” he continued.
“Back in the Duchy, the post-Juncker Luxembourg government claims the paradigm has shifted away from its dirty tax haven past. This is nothing but a fata morgana because the same government keeps blocking key transparency initiatives like public country-by-country reporting here at the Council in Brussels,” argued De Masi.