The Netherlands’ biggest banks ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank have dozens of subsidiaries based on tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Mauritius, the Financieele Dagblad states on Friday.
The subsidiaries are not mentioned in the banks’ official financial reports but do appear in ‘lists of participations’ in Chamber of Commerce records, the paper says.
In particular, ABN Amro and ING — two banks which received billions of euros in state aid during the financial crisis — have many units in tax havens, the paper’s research shows. The banks say they are active in these places to ‘avoid fiscal disadvantages’ and ‘not to win tax advantages’, the paper states.
Albert Hollander, chairman of lobby group Tax Justice Nederland, is sceptical about the bank’s claims and says the banks are ‘avoiding taxes through letterbox companies’.
Spokesmen for all three banks told the paper the companies on tropical islands had not disadvantaged the treasury, the FD said.
In 2008, ABN Amro had 55 companies in eight tax havens. In 2009, ING had 71. Their number has now been reduced to 33 and 27 respectively as part of ‘strategic reorientations’ the FD said.