It’s a sad day, Tuesday 26.04.2016, three people are going on trial today for doing something which the large majority of us would consider “acting in the Public Interest”. In late 2014 they leaked thousands of documents showing how the” Big 4″, EY (auditors of Lehman Bros & Anglo Irish), KPMG, PwC and Deloitte managed to get 100s of favourable rulings from the Luxembourg authorities (PwC alone got 548 between 2002 & 2010) which enabled their multinational clients to save Billions in tax, some enjoyed effective tax rates of less than 1%, yes ONE %.
The list of companies involved is staggering, more than 350; Pepsi, AIG, Ikea, Deutsche Bank, Abbot Laboratories, Koch Bros. etc. The most popular address seems to be 5, Rue Guillaume Kroll where some 1,600 companies are listed but only one company was stationed there with actual employees Alter Domus, a corporate services company, who advertised their services in a variety of other countries; Cyprus, Malta, Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey, Mauritius, Ireland, Hong Kong & Singapore, all of which just happen to be fully functioning Tax Havens.
The information was leaked by 2 PwC employees, Antoine Deltour & Raphael Halet and journalist Edouard Perrin. The taxes which these companies evaded, avoided, or just plain didn’t pay in the countries in which they carried on business & earned profits denied the Governments in those jurisdictions the income they badly needed to provide essential Public Services, such as schools, hospitals, hospices etc. In addition to this obvious damage, the normal weekly/monthly paid employees had to shoulder an unreasonably higher level of taxes in an attempt to bolster up Public Services.
I strongly advocate that multinational corporations should produce country by country accounts showing their turnover, profit and taxes paid. With this information available we all then have an opportunity to “Follow the Money”.
PS :Luxembourg leads the world in the management of Mutual Funds, some $750 Billion of them. Ireland runs a poor 2nd with only $200 Bil. and surprise, surprise the majority of these Billions arrive via Swiss Bank accounts. For more detail on which countries “invest” most in Swiss accounts see “Hidden Wealth of Nations” G Zucman. I earlier published a Chart of this info from his book.