Eurodad Identifies Surprising Haven Nations for Tax Evasion and Money Laundering

November 5, 2015Taxesby EW News Desk Team

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The European Network on Debt and Development (also known as "Eurodad"), a network of NGOs, has issued a recent report identifying European nations that have served as havens for tax evasion and money laundering. According to the report, Germany, Luxembourg, and Spain are among the most egregious offenders.  By turning a blind eye, they support "an unjust global tax system." The report went on to say that these nations "offer a diverse menu of options for concealing ownership and laundering money."

Eurodad's tax coordinator, Tove Ryding, said, "There is a lack of transparency … in Germany, so it's not surprising we see these scandals … Even when there have been efforts at the European Union level to introduce transparency, Germany has come out as an opponent." These comments came in response to reports that German negotiators fought against public access to a comprehensive register of beneficial owners. The provision (or at least a version of it) ultimately did make it through the EU and it is awaiting full implementation.

As reported by Business Insider, Eurodad is not alone in its criticism of Germany. The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering also noted problems with transparency in certain German trusts and found that its current system for storing owner information needed improvement.

Luxembourg is even worse for money laundering, thanks to a flawed national business registry and measures currently pending before its lawmakers that may actually reduce owner transparency.

Spain, on the other hand, is a different matter entirely. Eurodad says Spain conducts exceptionally aggressive tax-treaty negotiations more developing countries than any other EU nation. Spain tends to follow the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) model for negotiating tax treaties, which tend to favor richer nations. This is as opposed to the UN model, designed (at least theoretically) to create more benefit for developing nations.

In contrast, Eurodad found that Denmark and Slovenia were among the best nations for combatting tax evasion and money laundering. They have done this by creating environments with greater financial transparency through the creation of fully public registers with basic information on owners.

One year ago, the Luxembourg Leaks came out, revealing how hundreds of multinational companies formed tax deals with Luxembourg to reduce their own taxes. Eurodad's report, not accidentally released almost exactly a year later with the title "Fifty Shades of Tax Dodging," and made available at the NGO's website.