Press release | Nov. 5, 2017

Paradise Papers pile pressure on EU anti-money laundering negotiations

Today’s leak from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) piles huge pressure on the EU to finally crack down on corporate secrecy, corruption and money laundering ahead of crucial negotiations in Brussels next week said Global Witness today. 

The leak comes from Appleby, a major offshore law firm based in Bermuda. Over half of its offices are based in EU tax havens. The fresh leaks underline how little the EU has done to tackle offshore secrecy since the Panama Papers scandal first revealed the damage it does 18 months ago.

“The EU has so far failed to respond to the Panama Papers. These fresh leaks once again expose a damaging rogue system that enables crime, corruption and wrongdoing, hidden by secretive offshore companies and trusts. The EU must act now,” said Rachel Owens, Head of EU advocacy for Global Witness.

“Anonymous companies and trusts are getaway cars that enable money laundering, corruption, terrorism, tax evasion and human trafficking – with devastating impacts for people across and beyond Europe. The best way to tackle this problem is to shine the light of transparency and reveal those behind these secret structures, ” said Owens.

The EU institutions have been reviewing changes to EU anti-money laundering rules proposed by the Commission in the wake of the Panama Papers for over a year, with the next round of talks taking place on Tuesday 14th November. The European Parliament is calling for increased transparency by forcing EU companies and trusts to reveal their real owners.

“In next week’s crunch negotiations on EU anti-money laundering rules the Member States must agree to publicly reveal the true owners of all EU companies and trusts. They have spent the last year blocking proposed changes that would tackle these problems: by failing to act they are complicit in this corrupt system.” said Owens



Notes to editor:

  • Appleby states it has thoroughly and vigorously investigated the Paradise Papers allegations and is satisfied that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing by themselves or their clients.

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