Committee in EU Parliament wants action on tax havens and development finance

June 4th, 2015

On Monday 2 June, the European Parliament Development Committee unanimously voted to adopt a new report calling on the EIB, EBRD and development finance institutions in member states of the European Union to monitor companies they invest in to ensure they aren’t engaging in tax avoidance through the use of tax havens.

The report from the committee of MEPs drew on an investigation last year by Finance Uncovered – Tax Justice Network’s journalist training and mentoring programme. Our investigation revealed that the European Investment Bank had invested hundreds of millions of euros into an Egyptian oil refinery controlled by a shell company in the British Virgin Islands.

Further research found that the EIB’s anti tax haven policy had been ineffective for several years because the EIB considered no countries in the world to be tax havens. This meant that billions of euros of publicly funded development finance was invested in projects controlled by companies located in some of the world’s most notorious tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions.

The investigation received widespread coverage in the European media and when shown the results of our investigation, Linda McAvan MEP, the chair of the EU’s Development Committee said she would be passing on the results of our investigation to colleagues working on the report that was voted on yesterday.

The committee report will now go to a plenary session of the European Parliament in July and if approved in a full session will compel European institutions to take action.

Written by George Turner

This blog originally appeared on the website of Finance Uncovered.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing / Flickr User Thijs ter Haar

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