06:20 GMT03 March 2021
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    The European Parliament inquiry into the Panama Papers revelations, which begins Tuesday (July 12) has heard calls for both the Panama Government and the law firm at the center of the scandal to be called to Europe to testify, Sputnik has been told.

    The European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats (EPP) group in the European Parliament called for the special committee to be set up and has demanded registers of company owners. 

    Burkhard Balz, an EPP MEP, who is also the group's spokesman in Parliament's Special Tax Committee which was set up after the so-called LuxLeaks revelations, told Sputnik:

    "The EPP Group wants the law firm Mossack Fonseca and the Panama government to testify in Parliament. We want to systematically end secrecy on who owns letter box companies.Nobody can explain why it should be a secret who owns a company. If somebody founds a company — be it in Europe, Panama or elsewhere — there must be no secrecy about it. A real entrepreneur is not ashamed of what he does," Balz said.

    Hidden Wealth

    The Panama Papers are a leaked set of 11.5 million confidential documents that provide detailed information about more than 214,000 offshore companies listed by the Panamanian corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca, including the identities of shareholders and directors of the companies. The documents show how wealthy individuals, including public officials, hide their money from public scrutiny.

    ​The Panama Papers were revealed by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalism; the same organization that was behind what has become known as the 'LuxLeaks' corporate tax scandal. 'LuxLeaks' triggered the set-up of Parliament's Special Committee on Tax Rulings, which resulted in a long list of legal recommendations for fairer and more transparent tax policies in the EU. 

    Mossack Fonseca denies having broken the law, saying in a statement: "We are responsible members of the global financial and economic world. We regret any abuse of our services and take steps to prevent it."


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    tax avoidance, Panama Papers, tax haven, European Parliament, European Union, Europe, Panama, Luxembourg
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