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Parliamentary question - E-000730/2014Parliamentary question

The British Virgin Islands, a tax haven for the fortunes of Chinese leaders

Question for written answer E-000730-14
to the Commission
Rule 117
Francisco Sosa Wagner (NI)

A number of news outlets have reported recently on the scandal facing China following the disclosure that close family members of Chinese leaders are using tax havens on a massive scale to conceal the fortunes that they have amassed under the shadow of the regime. One of the most popular places for sending these huge sums of money to is the British Virgin Islands (an overseas territory of the United Kingdom), which are a significant financial centre and considered to be one of the most active tax havens in the world.

I have written to the Commission on a number of occasions, asking Commission for greater efforts by the European Union to combat fraud and tax avoidance. I have seen that progress is being made on this matter, as demonstrated by how close we are to approving the amendment of Directive 2011/16/EU on the mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation.

In other areas, however, no such progress is being made. The amendment of Directive 2003/48/EC on the taxation of savings with regard to the automatic exchange of tax information on bank savings in the European Union has been blocked for some time. Some Member States are refusing to take on obligations at Community level, and they are not being taken on at an international level for fear of being put at a disadvantage.

Does the Commission think it befits the image of the Union for the British Virgin Islands, a dependent territory of an EU Member State, to present itself to the world as one of the most active tax havens, which is extremely popular with the corrupt Chinese elite?

What kind of action can the Commission take in order to break the deadlock on negotiations concerning the amendment of Directive 2003/48/EC on the taxation of savings?

OJ C 294, 02/09/2014