This evening, the EU failed to reach agreement on putting an end to secret shell companies and anonymous trusts. The European Parliament came to the table ready to introduce public registers showing the real – so-called ‘beneficial’ – owners of companies and trusts. But the trialogue negotiations on revision of the 4th EU’s Anti-Money Laundering Directive had to be postponed, as the EU Member States weren’t ready to negotiate.
Tove Maria Ryding, Tax Justice Coordinator at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad) said:
“It’s unbelievable that the EU Member States still can’t agree on introducing the very basic level of transparency, which can help solve some of the problems we saw with the Paradise Papers scandal. We’ve just been flooded with examples of exactly how damaging secret shell companies and anonymous trusts can be. One is left wondering exactly how many scandals we’ll have to witness before EU Member States feel ready to act.
“During the Paradise Papers scandal, we’ve heard a lot about how the EU countries are working on blacklisting other countries. However, today we saw a clear example of how unwilling they are to clean up their own mess.”
“Shell companies and anonymous trusts are being abused to hide money in tax havens. There’s no excuse for letting this continue. Transparency is not only important to stop tax dodging and corruption in Europe. It is also vitally important for the world’s developing countries, which lose billions of dollars every year due to illicit financial flows.”
The trialogue negotiations on the revision of the EU’s 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive are expected to continue on 6 December 2017. The initiative started in July 2016, when the European Commission presented a proposal for how to respond to the so-called Panama Papers scandal.