The European Parliament’s committee of inquiry into the “Panama Papers” leaks has concluded that some European Union member states are obstructing the fight against money laundering, tax avoidance and evasion.
The Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA) approved its final report by 47 votes to 2 with 6 abstentions on October 18, after an 18-month probe into breaches of EU law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and evasion. It will be put to a final vote by the full parliament in Strasbourg in December.
The committee also approved the inquiry recommendations, by 29 votes for to 2 votes against, with 18 abstentions.
According to a European Parliament press release, the meeting opened with a minute’s silence as a tribute to Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed in a car bomb explosion on October 16. She had given the committee evidence about her work on the Panama Papers at a meeting in February.
An oral amendment brought forward by Malta’s MEP David Casa (EPP) condemning the “assassination” of the journalist, was overwhelmingly supported. The text described Caruana Galizia as being “on the frontline of the battle against money laundering”.
EP President Antonio Tajani has invited the family of the journalist to parliament’s plenary session next week in Strasbourg to join MEPs in paying their respects to Caruana Galizia.
The setting up of the Inquiry Committee was triggered by the leak of personal financial information, collectively known as the Panama Papers, which revealed that some offshore business entities had been used for illegal purposes, including fraud and tax evasion. Here is an overview of its inquiry.