Pandora Papers: Pirate MEPs call for investigation of Babiš’ illegal activities
The Pandora Papers are the most wide-ranging leaked documentation of tax evasion and money laundering in history. Documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) also reveal offshore activities by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who is running for re-election this week. The European Pirates Delegation in the European Parliament calls for an urgent debate in this week’s plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg as well as for further investigation.
Mikuláš Peksa MEP, Chair of the European Pirates and Member of the Budgetary Control Committee in the European Parliament, comments:
“The EU and all its member states must lead in the fight against fraud, corruption and money laundering. However, it’s clear from these revelations that not all EU leaders are putting in the effort needed to tackle financial secrecy. Unfortunately, it seems that Czech PM Andrej Babiš is deeply implicated by the revelations in the Pandora Papers. There must be an urgent investigation into the extent of the Prime Minister’s involvement in any fraudulent or illegal schemes. Any illegal activity must not go unpunished. These revelations show the urgent need for further EU action on tax evasion and financial crime. The EU cannot demand action abroad if it does not hold itself to the same standards at home. The Commission must take action on those member states not enforcing the exchange of tax information and anti-money laundering rules.”
Marcel Kolaja MEP, Czech Vice-President of the European Parliament, comments:
“When the Pirates suggested that tax havens have to be tackled systematically on the European level, Andrej Babiš got furious and called us traitors. Now, it is crystal clear why. Czech PM Babiš only fights for his own interests both in Czechia and in Europe. He will certainly try to lie his way out, as he always does. Not to mention that already back in 2015, for example, during his speech in the Czech Parliament, Babiš persuasively explained that he ‘does not own any offshores’.
“However, it is certainly not only Babiš who actively exploits the current system for his own enrichment. The biggest stories on Pandora Papers so far highlighted are also the offshore dealings of the presidents of Ukraine or former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. For the sake of European citizens, we need to take action. It truly is fundamental for Europeans to address such issues systematically and put in place mechanisms that will help us to effectively fight against tax evasions and point at those who are provably in the conflict of interests.”
Marketa Gregorova, MEP
„As always, Mr. Babiš complains about the timing of the Pandora Papers revelation. Well, obviously, the right time for him would be probably sometimes in the near future, when he’d be already hiding in some of his new luxury mansions bought anonymously with untaxed money. Certainly, the Pandora Papers revelations are so serious and undermining EU’s credibility, that Commission needs to tackle the issue as vigorously as possible. And we desperately need to find a new ways, how to stop this prominent European politicians‘ systemic fraud once and for all. That is why we should start with Babiš‘s latest nemesis in the EU – switching from unanimous voting in the European Council to an effective majority.“
Background: The Pandora Papers are the product of a joint investigation by more than 600 journalists from 150 news outlets, based on a leak of confidential records of 14 offshore services. They are the most expansive documentation of money laundering and tax evasion in history. More than 11.9 million files obtained by the Investigative Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reveal secret offshore holdings of more than 330 politicians and public officials, among them 35 current and former world leaders, from more than 90 countries. The files expose 956 companies tied to high-level politicians, set up in tax havens such as Seychelles, Switzerland Panama or the British Virgin Islands.