#Panama papers: Investigative journalists discuss their work in Parliament

| September 27, 2016 | 0 Comments

Selective focus on antique map of Panama

Hearing

 The hearing starts on Tuesday morning, 27 September, at 9.00 CET. The journalists discussing their work with MEPs include Frederik Obermaier, from the Süddeutsche Zeitung in Germany; and Kristof Clerix from Belgium’s Knack magazine. Watch it live online and check out  the full programme.

Following the hearing, the committee’s working program will be presented at a press conference at about 11.30 CET by committee chair Werner Langen, a German member of the EPP group, as well as by the two MEPs in charge of writting the committee’s recommendations: Jeppe Kofod, a Danish member of the S&D group, and Petr Ježek, a Czech member of the ALDE group. Watch it live online.

Panama papers

The release of the so-called Panama papers in April reignited the debate on tax evasion. The 11.5 million leaked documents from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca provide detailed information on more than 214,000 offshore companies used by politicians, business leaders, criminals and public figures to hide their wealth from public scrutiny. The documents were first leaked to German journalist Bastian Obermayer, from the Süddeutsche Zeitung, but because of the vast amount of files involved the newspaper asked the International Consortium for Investigative Journalism (ICIJ) to help process the data. The first articles were published on 3 April 2016.

On 21 September the ICIJ published information about offshore companies registered in the Bahamas. Among the names is former competition commissioner Neelie Kroes who was listed as a director of a Bahamian company from 2000 to 2009.

Inquiry committee

Following the revelations earlier this year Parliament decided to set up an inquiry committee to assess how the European Commission and member states are fighting money laundering and tax evasion. The committee has a one-year mandate which expires on 8 June 2017. The mandate can be prolonged twice by three months.

Parliament’s fight for fair taxation

 The fight for fair taxation in the EU has been high on Parliament’s agenda long before LuxLeaks and the Panama papers. Since the start of the economic and financial crisis, MEPs have been pushing for greater transparency and an end to tax unfair practices. For an overview of Parliament’s work, check out our top story.

Parliament previously launched two special committees focusing on sweetheart tax deals that member states have offered for multinationals. The launch of these committees was triggered by the LuxLeaks scandal. The final report of the second committee was approved by MEPs in July 2016.

On 14 September MEPs discussed the Commission’s ruling that Ireland had to recover €13 billion in unpaid taxes from Apple. During the debate Margrethe Vestager, the commissioner responsible for competition, won wide support from MEPs.

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Category: A Frontpage, EU, EU, European Commission, European Parliament, Journalism

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