EU parliamentarians on Thursday detailed plans to investigate purported supervisory failures that allowed some of Europe's largest banks to create thousands of shell companies for clients holding suspect funds offshore. The probe, which is expected to last as long as 12 months, will look into whether the European Commission and EU nations have been lax in implementing and enforcing the economic bloc's directives to fight money laundering and share tax-related data, according to a mandate published by the European Parliament's political leaders. Under the plan, a newly formed committee of inquiry will investigate "alleged contraventions and maladministration" of nine EU...
The head of an EU parliamentary committee reviewing files leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca said their yearlong investigation has been hampered by officials refusing to hand over documents and bank executives failing to appear at hearings.
Reports last month alleging widespread misuse of shell companies linked to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca have drawn undue criticism of the British Virgin Islands, according to two Tortola-based investigators.
The Panama Papers are justifiably grabbing headlines. But it's important to step back and have a little perspective: the use of shell companies for tax evasion, the proceeds of corruption and other crimes detailed in the papers are outrageous, but sadly nothing new.
The leak of millions of records purporting to show widespread exploitation of offshore financial centers by global leaders, lenders and criminals is expected to draw governmental scrutiny of illicit finance, however unevenly.