Stiglitz calls for sanctions on tax havens


"If a sovereign country pollutes the global economic atmosphere because it is a sanctuary of banking secrecy, we must impose coercive sanctions."

That is the opinion of Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who addressed the committee of inquiry of the European Parliament dealing with the allegations of money laundering and tax evasion that arose from the reporting on the 11 million leaked documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Stiglitz - who presented his findings yesterday together with the Swiss anti-corruption expert Mark Pieth - tried to persuade the European Union to punish tax havens.

During his speech, he presented a range of coercive measures that would serve to exert pressure and force these jurisdictions to meet international standards of transparency. Among them would be the cancellation of trade relations and increased banking restrictions.

"If they do not respect global rules, our banks will not do transactions with their banks. A tax haven has a contagious disease and we are not going to let us be infected," he said.


About Panama, he said that there are thousands of registered companies in the country in which the beneficial owner is not known.

"We don't know why they are in Panama, if they generate revenue there or not, and if it is not active, then we have to ask why they are there. It is important to emphasize that we have to require these companies to justify their activities and to pay taxes each year," he explained.

However, he reiterated that this happens in other countries, such as Delaware, in the United States, and Ireland.

"Why was Apple treated differently from other companies having advantageous fiscal treatment in Ireland?" he asked. "These agreements must be public, we must end the secrecy."

He said that sanctions should be imposed on Delaware the same as they would be imposed on any other entity.

"European companies should not do business deals with companies registered in these sites. This would change their behavior," he said.



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