A draft resolution by the European Parliament has called for an in-depth investigation by member states’ authorities to investigate politicians whose names appear in the Pandora papers, with the draft specifically mentioning President Nicos Anastasiades.
The text of the draft says the Parliament “deplores the fact that a number of politicians, including EU high-level decision-makers, have also featured in the Pandora Papers, and calls on the authorities of the member states involved to carry out appropriate investigations into any wrongdoing”.
It “deplores, in particular”, the fact that politicians such as Andrej Babiš, the Prime Minister of Czechia, and Nicos Anastasiades, the President of Cyprus, who both sit on the European Council, in addition to Wopke Hoekstra, the Dutch Minister of Finance, and also Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Milo Dakahovic, the President of Montenegro, and former Maltese Minister and former EU Commissioner John Dalli, “have all been mentioned in the Pandora Papers with reported links with offshore dealings”.
Anastasiades has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing after the law firm he founded and bears his name was accused of hiding the assets of a former Russian senator behind fake beneficial owners.
The report in the Guardian newspaper followed a massive leak of the financial documents – dubbed the Pandora Papers — that allegedly tie world leaders to secret stores of wealth.
“They say nothing, they are talking about the law firm bearing my name and nothing else,” Anastasiades told reporters upon his arrival at an EU Summit earlier this month.
The president said there was nothing in the papers about him hiding wealth in the BVIs or setting up a company to transfer money out of Cyprus.
The plenary draft resolution will be presented to the European Parliament on Thursday, calling on the authorities of the member states to further investigate all those listed in the Pandora Papers. The European Parliament intends to ask the EU institutions involved to come back and present the findings of their inquiries to the body.
According to reports, there is some consternation in naming current and former state officials in a final resolution and that perhaps such a move should be avoided.
According to the draft the Parliament take note of the publication of the Pandora Paper earlier this month and regrets that despite a decade of tax scandals and legislative reforms in the EU, the Pandora Papers reveal that there has been insufficient progress at global level to rein in corporate secrecy and offshore tax evasion and avoidance; recalls that corporate ownership secrecy is used to hide personal financial interests.
It deplores that the fact that citizens and decision-makers still have to rely on data leaks to access information about secret offshore practices and urges Member States to make progress on making beneficial ownership information available to the public and all remaining relevant information available to parliaments and competent authorities, including tax administrations, where relevant.
The draft also points out that the hidden system revealed in the Pandora Papers “taints the reputation of legitimate businesses, increases economic and social inequalities, harms the effective provision of public services and of assistance to the most vulnerable, undermines economic development where there is loss of revenue, and strongly erodes citizens’ trust in the rule of law and our economic and democratic system”.
The parliament wants to urge the competent authorities, including tax administrations, of the Member States to analyse the datasets from the paper and to launch thorough investigations into any wrongdoing revealed in the Pandora Papers involving their jurisdictions, including audits on all individuals mentioned in the Pandora Papers.
It also calls on the European Public Prosecutor’s Office to assess whether the data revealed in the Pandora Papers merits specific investigations within the remit of its mandate.