Matt Atlas

EP Adopts Pandora Papers Resolution Naming Babis And Others

The European Parliament (EP) deplores the fact that the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, together with a number of other high-ranking representatives of EU countries, appeared in the revelations of the international journalism project Pandora Papers. In a resolution in response to the debate from the previous sitting, MEPs called for better measures to combat tax cuts and tax havens.

According to the resolution, the EP “deplores, in particular, the fact that in Pandora Papers’ documents, politicians such as the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and the Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades appear among those allegedly involved in offshore business – both of whom sit on the European Council”.

The document also mentions, for example, the Dutch Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra, the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the President of Montenegro Mila Đukanovič, or the former Maltese Minister and former European Commissioner John Dalli.

MEPs called on the relevant authorities in the EU Member States to analyze the data published in the Pandora Papers project and to launch an investigation into all those mentioned in the documents.

According to the EP, investigative journalists should also continue to be able to protect their sources and dispose of classified documents freely if they fall into their hands. According to parliament, journalists must also not be afraid to publish their findings because of the threat of possible prosecution.

Despite decades of similar scandals, the EU has not yet taken sufficient steps to prevent tax evasion, the EP notes, noting that progress has not been made at global level.

Pandora Papers point out suspicious transactions that many politicians and other personalities from various countries have carried out through anonymous offshore companies. The international consortium of investigative journalists (ICIJ), which came up with the revelations, pointed out in Babiš’s case that he had sent almost 400 million crowns abroad through offshore companies, for which he then bought real estate on the French Riviera. Babiš repeatedly refuses to do anything illegal and said that he bought real estate using a relatively complex network of foreign companies on the recommendation of a real estate agency.

The Czech National Center against Organized Crime (NCOZ) said after the revelations that it “will take action”.