Ger­many plans new tax law on back of ‘Panama Leaks’ rev­e­la­tions

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Ger­many is plan­ning a new na­tional trans­parency regis­ter that will oblige off­shore com­pa­nies to dis­close the iden­tity of their own­ers, Ger­many’s

re­ported on Mon­day. The Mu­nich news­pa­per said the gov­ern­ment planned to amend its money laun­der­ing law so that it was no longer pos­si­ble for the ben­e­fi­cial owner of an off­shore com­pany to re­main anony­mous.

“Se­crecy has got to stop,” Jus­tice Min­is­ter Heiko Maas told the pa­per, adding that more trans­parency was an in­te­gral part of the fight against tax eva­sion and ter­ror fi­nanc­ing.

The leak of the “Panama Pa­pers” — four decades of doc­u­ments from a Pana­ma­nian law firm spe­cialised in set­ting up off­shore com­pa­nies — has prompted re­newed calls for tougher ac­tion against tax abuses.

The hid­den wealth of some of the world’s most prom­i­nent lead­ers, politi­cians and celebri­ties has been re­vealed by the un­prece­dented leak of millions of doc­u­ments which show the myr­iad ways in which the rich can ex­ploit se­cre­tive off­shore tax regimes.

Ger­man Finance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schauble said the leak would in­crease pres­sure to tackle mis­use of tax rules and said ad­di­tional mea­sures were needed.

“We can­not al­low that one part of so­ci­ety works hard, sticks to the rules and pays taxes while an­other part of so­ci­ety cheats,” Econ­omy Min­is­ter Sig­mar Gabriel told the “We need to im­pose a off­shore com­pa­nies and foun­da­tions whose ben­e­fi­cial own­ers re­main anony­mous,” he added.

While a na­tional trans­parency regis­ter would not have any bear­ing on off­shore com­pa­nies in Panama or the Caribbean, its aim is to send a sig­nal to the Euro­pean Union and other in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions that Ger­many is crack­ing down and oth­ers should fol­low, the pa­per said, cit­ing gov­ern­ment sources.

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is due to present a planned law on tax avoid­ance next week, but crit­ics say it would still not stop com­pa­nies hid­ing their ac­tiv­i­ties in tax havens out­side the EU.

Jour­nal­ists from more than 80 coun­tries have been re­view­ing 11.5 mln files leaked from the data­base of Mos­sack Fon­seca, the world’s fourth big­gest off­shore law firm. The off­shore hold­ings of some 140 politi­cians from more than 50 coun­tries are ex­posed in this big­gest leak of all times.

The records, called “The Panama Leaks”, were ob­tained from an anony­mous source by the Ger­man news­pa­per and shared by the In­ter­na­tional Con­sor­tium of In­ves­tiga­tive Jour­nal­ists with the

and a num­ber of other me­dia across Europe and the world. The Panama records re­veal among other things, that twelve na­tional lead­ers are among 143 politi­cians, their fam­i­lies and close as­so­ci­ates from around the world known to have been us­ing off­shore tax havens.

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