Nobel Prize winner calls for immediate halt to tax havens

A press release of Fabio De Masi

Nov 16th, 2016

Upon GUE/NGL’s invitation, Nobel laureate for Economics, Joseph Stiglitz, and head of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT), José Antonio Campo, today addressed the European Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA) on tax justice and international transparency.

Stiglitz has just co-authored a report with Swiss anti-corruption lawyer, Professor Mark Pieth, which originates from their resignation from Panama's own commission into the Panama Papers scandal - citing a lack of commitment from the government to undergo meaningful reforms and transparency after the revelations.

ICRICT, meanwhile, has also gone public with its own report on international tax competition.

GUE/NGL’s Fabio De Masi MEP, Vice-Chair of the PANA committee said in addressing Stiglitz during the hearing:

"Joe Stiglitz basically confirmed all the elements of a fairer tax system that we have long called for: starting with zero tolerance for secrecy through comprehensive and public registers for the beneficial owners of companies and trusts, as well as a fully-fledged country by country reporting.

“When battling money-laundering and tax crime, we need a strong focus on the enforcement of rules: from penalties such as licence withdrawal for banks and law firms to source taxes and restrictions on financial market access for jurisdictions that refuse to reform.”

“This has to include sub-federal entities like Delaware and Nevada in the US - as Stiglitz has explicitly confirmed,” said De Masi.

“Furthermore, there needs to be a global end to tax competition as amply demonstrated by ICRICT. The setting of tax rates has become a race to the bottom and leaves the other 99 per cent to bear the brunt.

“As long as multiple EU member states continue to oppose closer co-operation, we’d need unilateral protective action via source taxes on profit transfers.

“Without tax justice, there is no end to this disastrous austerity regime in the EU. Without an end to austerity, there is no future for the EU," argued De Masi.

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