The OECD announced today that it was asked to convene a special project meeting of the Joint International Tax Shelter Information and Collaboration (JITSIC) Network. Government officials have been calling to ask for assistance after the revelations brought to light since release of the “Panama Papers.”
The OECD arranged a meeting in Paris for Wednesday, April 13. Senior tax administration officials from countries around the world are expected to attend.
These officials are part of the Joint International Tax Shelter Information Centre (JITSIC), a network of tax administration officials responsible for responding to global compliance risks. JITSIC collaborates to allow fast and effective information exchange between tax administrations.
Thanks to the “Panama Papers” leak, an unprecedented amount of information is now available on a tax haven used for a combination of good and nefarious financial activities. This information has generated outrage around the world, as people who pay tax have realised that those those can afford it, can avoid paying any tax in their home country.
The “Panama Papers” include more than 11 million documents on 210,000 companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions. Not all of the information has been analyzed yet, but it is known that many transactions span multiple jurisdictions and sometimes involve multiple entities and individuals.
Already, several world leaders have been caught out by the revelations. Some took action years ago to divest themselves of any relationship with tax havens, while others have not. British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull say they had already divested themselves of relationships organized by their families. Cameron’s father was a client of the Mossack Fonseca law firm. Turnbull’s father had shares held by a foreign trust, which Turnbull sold before he became Prime Minister.
Iceland’s Prime Minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson has already resigned, and Iceland is looking for a replacement. Gonzalu Delaveau, a Chilean who leads an anti-corruption group resigned his position after his name appeared in the Panama Papers. Chile is investigating others on the list.
Friends of Vladimir Putin, relatives of the leaders of China, Britain and Pakistan, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko are also listed in the papers. Malta’s health and energy minister is also listed, but he denies any wrongdoing. Sports stars and other celebrities are named in the papers.
In France, some media outlets accused the far-right National Front party or their leader Marine Le Pen of being implicated in the tax-avoidance scandal. The party and Marine Le Pen say it is not true, and the party has already commenced defamation suits against the media outlets.