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EU Greens’s report on Tax evasion targets middle-men

The role of intermediaries in tax evasion has been revealed by the European Parliament group Greens/EFA who scanned through the data of the panama papers, the offshore leaks and the Bahamas papers.

The report took information from a database of banks, accountants and lawyers, the majority (90%) with a base in the EU, to find out more about their possible offshore businesses.

The database was created by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Greens used the public data from the ICIJ on three scandals (Panama Papers, the Bahamas Leaks and Offshore Leaks) and are calling for a regulatory ‘crackdown’.

Greens/EFA economic and finance spokesperson, Sven Giegold, said: “This study shows that tax evasion and money laundering transactions are made possible by banks, law firms and auditors operating, and often based in the EU. Swiss and Luxembourg firms, as well as French and British institutions, have earned a tidy sum from this kind of business.”

Molly Scott Cato, Green tax spokesperson, added: “This new report shows that helping wealthy elites and corporations dodge tax is a thriving business in the UK. And we totally reject the so-called “new economic model” that Theresa May and her Chancellor have chosen to threaten the EU with.”

There were 140 international intermediaries listed, and among the “middle-men” are accounting giants such as the Big Four as well as large banks such as UBS, Credit Suisse or Citibank, and also law firms. The report stated: “We also found several banks from Luxembourg but also the three major French banks: Société Générale, Crédit Agricole and BNP Paribas.” Yet many other names in the list remain unknown to the wider public.

A UBS spokesperson said: “UBS conducts its business in full compliance with applicable law and regulations. We have no interest in funds that are not taxed or derive from unlawful activities.”

Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the United States are the top 3 countries hosting them, and Asia has the highest number of intermediaries, with Europe second.

Giegold continued: “The governments of member states must initiate an investigation into those firms complicit in tax evasion and money laundering. We are calling for comprehensive and independent monitoring of intermediaries, applying equally to banks, lawyers, and consultants.”

The study and its key results can be found here:

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