The first-ever major report looking into the secretive workings of the Big Four accountancy firms that assist individuals and companies to evade taxes has been released by members of European Parliament from the European United Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) who sit on the European Parliament’s Panama Papers inquiry committee.
The study analyses the size, scope and location of the activities of the Big Four accounting firms. Its findings include that these firms are heavily over-represented in tax havens when compared with the population size and GDP, where they make exceptional profits.
It was highly moving to hear British Prime Minister David Cameron explain that the reason he gave misleading answers about benefiting from his father’s offshore tax arrangements exposed by the Panama Papers leaks was because he was angry with comments made about his dad.
It makes you realise that, when it comes to tax avoidance, the Camerons are the real victims.
The revelations from the Panama papers continue to reverberate around the world. While the Australian angle has so far been a bit anticlimactic, it did kick off a discussion about the banking sector and tax havens.
Bill Shorten, in an uncharacteristic display of spinal-cord solidification, seized the initiative and announced that the Labor Party would conduct a Royal Commission into the banking industry if elected.
The Panama Papers provide proof that many politicians, capitalists and members of royalty use overseas tax havens to escape paying tax on their activities in the countries where they reside.
What does the process involve and who benefits at whose expense?
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) makes it crystal clear that individuals and businesses are legally obliged to declare all their worldwide income to the ATO every year. “Their” income does not only mean payments received in their name personally, but also includes any kind of income in which they have a “beneficial interest”.
Thousands of protesters marched on Downing Street on April 9 to demand British Prime Minister David Cameron resign after revelations about his tax affairs emerged in preceding days in fall out from the huge Panama Papers tax haven leaks.
The Immigration Department is reviewing Wilson Security's lucrative role at the Manus Island and Nauru offshore detention camps following allegations it was secretly controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Thomas Kwok, who is serving five years in jail for bribery, and his brother.
Wilson Security has denied allegations that the brothers concealed their ownership and control of Wilson after the claims emerged as part of the Panama Papers, the leak of millions documents from law firm Mossack Fonseca, based in Panama.
The beating heart of the tax avoidance practice and industry is the city of London, Mark Donne, director of the award-winning documentary UK Gold told TeleSUR English in light of the recent Panama Papers scandal.
Donne emphasised that the practice has cost the Global South trillions of dollars in plundered resources and wealth.
“You really have to think of the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and all those territories as branches, nothing more than just branches,” Donne told TeleSUR English in an interview on April 4.
One of the most shocking revelations of the Panama Papers is that US protected multinationals and many of their allies around the world have US$32 trillion in tax havens.
The Panama Papers
1. The Panama Papers are a massive and historic leak of confidential documents that reveal how the rich and powerful from many countries around the globe use tax havens to hide their wealth.