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    Luxembourg Tax Evasion Scandal Embarrassing to New EC President: Experts

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    Experts concluding that the Luxembourg tax evasion scandal is embarrassing to new European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

    MOSCOW, November 6 (RIA Novosti), Daria Chernyshova – The Luxembourg tax evasion scandal is embarrassing to new European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who was Luxembourg's prime minister for 18 years, experts told RIA Novosti Thursday.

    "It's a very embarrassing position for Juncker, because he only took office as the president of the European Commission a few days ago, and he'll take some perhaps well-deserved political heat for the matter, and it probably reduces his credibility on tax reform matters," Editor of the foreign policy blog Suffragio Kevin Lees told RIA Novosti.

    "If, for example, Juncker was found to have taken personal kickbacks in exchange for favorable treatment, it would be a much more serious allegation for himself, for the Commission, and for confidence in Luxembourg's institutions. But there's no evidence of that," Lees added.

    While Lees believes Juncker is not complicit in the tax scandal, France's euro-sceptic Front National Party Leader Marine Le Pen has called for Juncker's resignation, saying that the international scandal "is not just political but also ethical and moral."

    "I think calling for a resignation is a little bit premature," Assistant Professor at the Netherlands' Maastricht University Michael Geary opined in his conversation with RIA Novosti.

    "The tax situation in Luxembourg, the leak of all these documents from PricewaterhouseCoopers certainly is embarrassing for Juncker," Geary said.

    According to the documents leaked, Luxembourg has been largely facilitating tax planning for a wide range of large companies thus enabling these companies to reduce the amount of tax they have to pay globally.

    "Most of those agreements that were reached had to be signed off by Luxembourg government, so there is no question about the legality, but there is a moral question, where many of the countries have simply channeled money through Luxembourg and of course the Luxembourg government agreed to this process," Michael Geary noted.

    The professor went on to argue that Juncker did not see anything wrong about the matter because he "was working largely in the national interest of trying to maintain healthy GDP in Luxembourg."

    "But now as a Commission president it is interesting to see how he responds to the leak of documents," Geary stressed.

    Geary also stated that Marine Le Pen's call for Juncker's resignation was mainly "a populist move."

    "I'm not surprised that Marine Le Pen called for this, this is a populist move but nevertheless I doubt that 28,000 documents have been released," Geary added during his conversation with RIA Novosti.

    The challenge that Juncker is facing now is more of a moral nature; he presides at an institution that is conducting investigations into companies involved in tax avoidance that was given the green light in a country he, Juncker, comes from.

    The leaking of the documents came days after Juncker assumed office on November 1 as president of the new European Commission.

    Related:

    Le Pen Urges EU Commission President to Resign Over Tax Evasion Scandal
    EU to Start Investigation into Apple Tax Evasions in Ireland
    Tags:
    tax evasion, Marine Le Pen, Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg
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