Greens are accusing multinational corporations involved in the ‘Lux Leaks’ tax avoidance scandal of running scared, by refusing to attend a Tax Committee hearing in the European Parliament today. Antoine Deltour, the whistleblower behind the disclosure of many of the LuxLeaks documents, will be at the hearing.
Google, Fiat, Amazon, HSBC, Coca Cola and McDonalds are amongst the high profile names that have declined to attend. Commenting on the refusal of multinationals to attend the hearing, Molly Scott Cato MEP, tax policy spokesperson for the Greens in the Parliament, said:
“Corporations who have benefitted from tax avoidance are running scared. All have declined our invitation to give evidence today. They avoid not only their fair share of tax but also to facing up to their tax avoidance tactics. We need now to consider extending the powers of committees to give them quasi-judicial powers to compel witnesses to attend and give their evidence under oath.”
Molly Scott Cato welcomed the fact that Antoine Deltour will attend the meeting. She said that without him and his disclosures the TAXE committee would not exist and that discussions on changes to tax rules would not be taking place. Dr Scott Cato will use the opportunity to ask Mr Deltour what concrete recommendations he believes will support whistle-blowers. She said:
“I want to find out whether Mr Deltour supports the Greens idea of setting up an anonymous website for whistle-blowers to pass on and share information in a safe and secure manner. I also want to ask him what emotional, practical and legal support could be offered.”
Dr Scott Cato concluded:
“There are three main players in the tax avoidance game: the states that engage in tax competition, the corporations who follow their drive to maximise profits via the route of tax minimisation, and the accountancy firms that create and profit from the structures and techniques of tax avoidance. As Greens we believe these issues can be addressed through extending country-by-country reporting to all sectors, not just banking, and to make the tax returns of corporations with a turnover of more than €20m publicly available. This would reduce the public cost of monitoring companies’ tax affairs and increase the ease with which public authorities could ensure that sufficient tax revenue was paid.”