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STOP this masquerade! STOP tax dodging!

14 November 2014 | by Frances Witt 

This is a crucial time for financial transparency. We know for a fact that anonymous shell companies and trusts are being abused to launder money and evade taxes, fuelling poverty and misery both in Europe and in developing countries.

So our campaign continues.

Tax campaigners holding banners

Fifteen European organisations - including Christian Aid - in the STOP Tax Dodging Campaign are pushing for EU-wide rules to end the anonymity of companies, trusts and foundations through the creation of public registers.

These would reveal the real (or beneficial) owners behind all shell companies.

The EU Parliament, EU Council and European Commission are currently meeting to discuss revisions to the Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD).

We have a window of opportunity to push for public registers during these negotiations. But there’s a stumbling block.

In June 2014, the European Council (made up of EU member states) adopted a preliminary position that does not include public registers. 

It seems the Council doesn’t want information to be publicly available or even held in a register at all.

A new opportunity

This contrasts strongly with the official position of the European Parliament, which voted in favour of public registers earlier this year (thanks to the efforts of campaigners across Europe, including Christian Aid).

Since that vote, a new European Parliament has been elected. So the STOP Tax Dodging Campaign organised a coordinated lobby in Brussels to state our case to the newly elected MEPs. 

There was a real buzz in the EU Parliament buildings as campaigners from the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Poland, Spain, Slovenia, France and Italy - to name but a few - simultaneously sat engaging their parliamentary representatives.

And now we have a key opportunity to secure public registers across Europe as negotiations between the Parliament, Council and European Commission have just begun.

These will determine the final text of the EU’s Anti-Money Laundering Directive. Let’s ensure that EU decision-makers don’t keep us in the dark.

Get involved

STOP tax dodging logo

Please help us secure public registers of the beneficial owners of companies in the EU once and for all.

Together, we’ve done such a great job in persuading the UK government to introduce public registers. Now we need to see them implemented across Europe and beyond.

Please share our film and tweet your support for public registers, using the hashtags #stoptaxdodging #AMLD.

Here are some suggested tweets:

Tax dodging business owners must be unmasked. Share our film: http://bit.ly/1BgFAIg #stoptaxdodging #AMLD

The EU must regulate the anonymous firms and trusts that help hide the identity of corrupt and criminal companies #stoptaxdodging #AMLD

Read more

For more information on the systems and structures in Europe that facilitate tax dodging, see the STOP Tax Dodging Campaign’s new report, Hidden Profits, which examines the commitments and actions of every EU member state and also EU policies.

About the author

Frances Witt

Frances Witt is international advocacy adviser for Christian Aid

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