The Malta Independent 23 September 2017, Saturday

Panama Papers: PANA Committee ‘impeded massively’ in investigation - Giegold

Wednesday, 6 September 2017, 10:32 Last update: about 17 days ago

MEP Sven Giegold, Coordinator of the Greens/EFA group in the PANA committee, said that the PANA committee was “impeded massively” in its investigation on the Panama Papers.

In comments posted by Alternattiva Demokratika chairman Arnold Cassola on Facebook, Giegold said this is so mostly because politicians refrained from attending meetings specifically held for the committee to gather information.

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Among them was OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri, who refused to accept at least two requests by the committee, one when it was in Malta in February and later rejected an invitation to meet in Strasbourg.

Cassola said that today was the closing date for presentation of amendments to the EP Panama Papers Committee report.

MEP Sven Giegold, Coordinator of the Greens/EFA group in the PANA committee commented:

"Ensuring tax justice, fair competition and effective prosecution of financial criminality is crucial to foster the credibility of the European Union. When it comes to money laundering and tax avoidance, many Member States only stand and watch. The Maltese government is even
itself involved in business with letterbox companies and does not draw any serious consequence. The Member States concerned must now clean up at home and agree to an EU-wide public transparency register of the beneficial owners of companies and trusts. To end the Member States' ominous race to the bottom, we need a common minimum corporation tax rate in the EU. The Commission must further increase the number of staff to combat financial crime and to monitor Member States more effectively. If the Member States continue to delay measures against tax avoidance, the EU Commission must submit their proposals under the majority voting procedure (Article 116 TFEU).

"Unfortunately, the work of the PANA Committee has been impeded massively. Numerous responsible firms and politicians refused to attend hearings in the Parliament. The Council and the Commission kept decisive documents under wraps. The insights from most of the transmitted documents cannot be made public by the Investigation Committee. The final report including our own amendments therefore only display half of the truth. Thereby, Council and Commission deprive the public of a large part of the insights gained by the PANA Committee. We demand a permanent Investigation Committee in the European Parliament comparable to the one of the US Senate, in order to effectively oppose infringements of Union law."

 

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