Offshore Activities and Money Laundering: Recent Findings and Challenges

01-03-2017

The Panama papers and further leaks revealed that money laundering and tax evasion are important issues, which often go hand in hand. The major role of offshore centres is to provide secrecy. With this, offshore centres played an important role for hiding illegal activities, criminal identity and criminal ownership of assets right from their start. In the last years, combating tax evasion and money laundering have become politically more important. A ‘hot phase of regulation’ has started initiated from the US. The paper argues that Europe has to find its own European way of creating compliance among its member states. For this, creating transparency with regard to bank registers, beneficial ownership, tax accounts and criminal investigations is important. The regulation of European offshore centres would be a first promising step. A homogenous European anti- money laundering and anti-tax evasion policy would need a differentiated EU approach for different groups of Member States and not a one size fits all approach. This publication was managed by the Policy Department on Economic and Scientific Policies for the Committee on Money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (PANA).

The Panama papers and further leaks revealed that money laundering and tax evasion are important issues, which often go hand in hand. The major role of offshore centres is to provide secrecy. With this, offshore centres played an important role for hiding illegal activities, criminal identity and criminal ownership of assets right from their start. In the last years, combating tax evasion and money laundering have become politically more important. A ‘hot phase of regulation’ has started initiated from the US. The paper argues that Europe has to find its own European way of creating compliance among its member states. For this, creating transparency with regard to bank registers, beneficial ownership, tax accounts and criminal investigations is important. The regulation of European offshore centres would be a first promising step. A homogenous European anti- money laundering and anti-tax evasion policy would need a differentiated EU approach for different groups of Member States and not a one size fits all approach. This publication was managed by the Policy Department on Economic and Scientific Policies for the Committee on Money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (PANA).