55 billion euros have been stolen from EU coffers in the past 15 years and in several member states by an organised group of bankers, according to a research of 19 European media outlets published today. In light of the shocking revelations, S&D Euro MPs are calling for immediate investigation of the scandal, transparent exchange of information and enforcement of the tax and financial regulation. In addition to this, MEPs Jeppe Kofod and Peter Simon requested today a hearing in the TAX3 committee in the European Parliament.
Reacting to the CumEx files scandal, S&D Group vice-president & co-rapporteur in the special committee on tax, Jeppe Kofod MEP, S&D Group spokesperson for the Parliament's special committee on tax, Peter Simon MEP, and S&D Group spokesperson on economic and monetary affairs, Pervenche Berès MEP stated:
“Another tax scandal shakes the EU and still many pretend to be surprised. How many more do we need to see in order to act?
“This is pure and simple welfare theft committed by a corrupt global elite of bankers, lawyers and traders, who illegally helped themselves to billions in European tax money. We also know that the key reason why these schemes could go on for so long and prove so immensely lucrative is the lack of sincere and effective cooperation between EU member states’ authorities, which remains a systemic problem in Europe.
“The scandal proves once again the limits of the current systems of exchange of information. Unless we address the root causes of these thefts, we will once more declare ourselves shocked and appalled at each new scandal. In the meantime, the main perpetrators have long since made their get-away to the playgrounds of the rich and privileged, but the citizens of Europe are still feeling the consequences. They are lacking funding for schools, hospitals and eldercare. Tax theft is a crime against society. Europe cannot and must not tolerate this!
“We need more transparency and enhanced supervision of the financial markets. Coordinated action at the European level is more necessary than ever. Blocked files in the Council are money lost for public coffers, money not spent for the welfare of EU citizens.
“We Socialists and Democrats are calling for thorough investigations into all intermediaries (lawyers, banks and accountants) who arranged these schemes and adequate sanctions. It is time that we end impunity and ensure better enforcement of financial regulation. There is no time to waste!
“We are also renewing our call for a dedicated EU Financial Intelligence Unit and an EU Tax Policy Coherence and Coordination Centre. We want to ensure that when one member state suspects international fraud, all member states will be immediately alerted and a full, coordinated and international investigation can begin at once.”