LuxLeaks: When silence speaks louder than words

Joint declaration by Fabio De Masi, GUE/NGL shadow rapporteur on the TAXE special committee and David Wagner, member of déi Lénk group in the Luxembourg Parliament (Abgeordnetenkammer) on yesterday’s meeting between a delegation from the Parliament’s TAXE committee and the Luxembourg government, members of parliament and lobbyists.

Fabio De Masi commented: „The fight against tax dumping does not target Luxembourg specifically, but the privileges of big multinational corporations. The majority of Luxembourg people are also adversely affected if huge companies do not pay proper taxes. It is becoming increasingly clear that powerful EU member states like Germany and France are covering aggressive tax competition in the interest of their big corporations and that this competition is embedded in the EU Treaties.“

David Wagner (déi Lénk) said: „The Luxembourg government continues to block any real clarification of this aggressive tax competition under the pretext of the administrative effort required to publish all tax rulings since 1991.“

De Masi continued: „In accordance with a circular letter by the Luxembourg tax administration from 1989, tax rulings must not predominantly serve tax optimisation. The head of the Luxembourg rulings committee could not answer my question as to whether the former rulings complied with this Luxembourg law. At the same time, the publication of relevant documents to clarify this question was refused. In addition, since 1977 an obligation exists for a so-called spontaneous information exchange if tax rulings adversely affect other EU member states.  However, Luxembourg’s finance minister underlined that as a financial centre his country is in tax competition with the other member states, which do not exchange this information. Frankly speaking, this means that Luxembourg as well as other EU member states have continuously broken the law. The TAXE committee furthermore demands the publication of the 1997 „Krecké-Report“ on tax evasion in Luxembourg – including the chapters on tax rulings. If the Luxembourg finance minister refuses to cooperate, we will simply ask the former Luxembourg finance and prime minister and now president of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker to do so.“

„If the Luxembourg government refuses to create real transparency, public opinion regarding the upcoming Luxembourg council presidency will be concerned. The same holds true for the indefensible charges against whistle-blower Antoine Deltour and journalist Edouard Perrin. The current protection of whistle-blowers who act against corruption and money laundering is far from sufficient and they need to be better protected if they serve the public interest,“ David Wagner added.

Fabio De Masi concluded: „Unfortunately, the Luxembourg government does not want to publish relevant documents on information exchange and corporation reports. Moreover, the finance minister showed no real interest in discussing a broad and consolidated corporate tax base during the upcoming Luxembourg council presidency. Finally, we were not able to talk to „Monsieur Ruling“ – Marius Kohl – as the Luxembourg government proved unable to provide us with a contact. Mr Kohl’s contact details are however in the telephone book and so we will invite him and Mr Juncker to the European Parliament. There should be no problem to finding Juncker’s address via the EU Commission.“