Saturday 08 August 2020

Dijsselbloem under fire over claim ING helped write new law

finance minister Jeroen DijsselbloemFinance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem has been urged to explain claims that officials from financial services group ING were involved in drawing up legislation.

The NRC says on Wednesday that ING was responsible for drawing up parts of a draft law covering tax deductions given to banks for a new type of bond.

Labour MP Henk Nijboer has called on Dijsselbloem to explain how the law was drawn up. ‘Politicians should be writing laws, not banks,’ he said. GroenLinks and Socialist MPs have also called for a speedy debate with the minister about the claims.

The Christian Democrats say all correspondence between the ministry and the banks should be made public.

The finance ministry said in a reaction that ING officials were consulted but that other banks were also involved. ‘No one writes the laws for us,’ a spokesman said.

Nor could the decision to give the tax break – saving banks some €350m a year – be considered illegal state support, the ministry said.

CoCos

The NRC claims ING has been lobbying for the bonds, known as contingent convertibles or CoCos, to be made tax deductible since 2011.

‘The lobby worked,’ the NRC says, pointing out that the tax deduction was included in an amendment in summer 2014.

‘ING was sent concept versions of the law and made comments about it,’ the paper says. ‘Almost all ING’s suggested amendments were taken over almost word for word.’

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