EU PANA Committee Meets Lawyers, Accountants and Bankers

During the PANA meeting held on February 9, the committee held a second session on "The role of lawyers, accountants and bankers in Panama Papers", addressing the Scandinavian and German practice. In addition, insights from EU Member States regarding their country specific tax-related crime practices were published.

EU Member State Practices

Member States were asked to provide their national legal definition(s) of tax-related crimes, information on the organization of tasks between the national administrations and the judiciary and information about staff resources, working methods and results achieved to date. The responses will be used for compiling a retrospective overview of the systems implemented by the Member States.

Lawyers, Bankers and Accountants

The PANA Inquiry Committee invited professionals to zoom in on the Scandinavian and German practice. German and Swedish bankers, lawyers and other experts shared their views on what could be improved and what, in their views, needs to be done to avoid the setting-up of offshore schemes for tax evasion of money laundering purposes in the future.

A One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Michael Kemmer, General Manager and Member of the Board of Directors at the Association of German Banks pointed out in his reply to the written question that "there is nevertheless an inherent danger in work by international bodies that they will apply a one-size-fits-all approach which ignores differences between the participating jurisdictions. I’m certainly not telling a Committee of the European Parliament anything new here. In our view, however, experience in the European Union, especially, shows that requirements which work well in one Member State don’t always perform in another."

Quality, Not Quantity

Furthermore, the Association of German Banks stated that the requirements to report suspicious transactions are often excessive. The political debate still seems to be guided by the principle that “more reports = more activity in combating crime = more success in clearing it up,” which the association considers ineffective.

Report on Investigation of Nordea Private Banking

Second part of the meeting addressed the "Report on Investigation of Nordea Private Banking in Relation to Offshore Structures," which has been published on the committee website together with Webstreaming.  

Sources: Replies to Written Questions, Report on Nordea Private Banking (Offshore Structures), Webstreaming, Requests for Member States Contributions
 

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