April 4, 2016
The leak of millions of documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca has again focused attention on the Netherlands as a tax haven, Dutch media say on Monday. According to the Volkskrant, the papers, which reveal the tax evasion strategies used by politicians, sports stars and businessmen, show that Dutch shell companies are being used to make payments on the basis of fake contracts. Oxfam Novib tax expert Francis Weyzig told the paper the Netherlands has played a ‘questionable role in shifting money’. GroenLinks MP Rik Grashoff has called for a parliamentary debate on the revelations. ‘These show how important it is that the ownership of shell companies is public and that we should eventually start tackling the perverse practice of tax evasion,’ he said. The documents were obtained by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). ‘The leak exposes the offshore holdings of 12 current and former world leaders and reveals how associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin secretly shuffled as much as $2 billion through banks and shadow companies,’ the ICIJ said on Sunday. ‘The files contain new details about major scandals ranging from England’s most infamous gold heist, an unfolding political money laundering affair in Brazil and bribery allegations convulsing Fifa.’ In the Netherlands, Trouw and the Financieele Dagblad have been involved in the Panama Paper research. They are expected to publish more about the Dutch links later this week. Fifa So far the Dutch investigators have revealed that two Dutch shell companies are mentioned in the papers. These appear to have had a role in payments made to sports marketing companies in Latin America in the Fifa scandal. A number of wealthy Dutch nationals are also said to have used the constructions to avoid tax but have not yet been named. The Daily Mail also quotes an email from the company’s Luxemburg branch about a Dutch man wishing to hide assets from his Dutch wife during a divorce case. The note, addressed to someone named Ramses, says the client needed to ‘protect’ his assets ‘against the unpleasant results of a divorce (on the horizon!)’ Mossack Fonseca Nederland BV was written out of the Dutch chamber of commerce on March 31, 2016. The company had been based in The Hague.
Read more at DutchNews.nl: Panama Papers leak focuses attention on Dutch shell firms http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2016/04/88080-2/