Molly Scott Cato criticises UK tax havens for allowing "nefarious relationships" at heart of Panama Papers leak

4 April 2016

Following the 'Panama Papers’ leak, Molly Scott Cato MEP has called the UK’s involvement “embarrassing” and calls on the UK Government to change its relationships with Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories.


Commenting on the so called Panama Papers, a huge leak of confidential documents revealing how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth, Molly Scott Cato MEP, Green Party economics and finance speaker, said:


“What becomes clear from the revelations contained in the Panama Papers is that it is the UK that is at the centre of the global network of tax havens that facilitates tax avoidance and crime. This is deeply embarrassing for us as a country and reveals as entirely hollow the Chancellor's claim to be cracking down on tax avoidance.


“If we are to restore our national pride we must see steps taken immediately to deal with the nefarious relationships between apparently respectable companies based in The City and their dubious associates in the Crown dependencies and overseas territories. We need to end the convenient anachronism of such jurisdictions: either they should become a part of the United Kingdom and subject to our laws or they should acquire independence. In addition we need to put an end to shell companies and ensure much greater transparency on beneficial ownership.”


Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader, also commented on the news. She also called for an end to British controlled tax havens and asked for an investigation into the "rotten borough" at the centre of the story: the City of London.


"More than half of the companies in the papers are registered in UK dependencies or in the UK itself.


"This story must not be diverted into a focus on foreign corrupt regimes.


"This is a British problem, a British crisis. The theft of billions from their people by corrupt political leaders and officials is being facilitated, even promoted, by British institutions and professional companies, and that must stop.


"David Cameron is due to hold a summit in May on tax havens. That should result in the abolition of all tax havens under British control.


"And we must also think about how we got to this situation. At the heart of this web is the City of London, the last rotten borough in British democracy. The abolition of its Corporation, with all of the special privileges that give it power within our government, is an essential step in ending this rot that's causing immense economic damage and human suffering around the world.”


Bennett added: "I'm proud that Greens across Europe have been at the forefront of the fight against tax havens, our South West MEP Molly Scott Cato prominent among them."