Hundreds of Dutch nationals, including former international football player Clarence Seedorf, Mexx founder Rattan Chadha and a string of businessmen and women, are included in the Panama Papers revelations, Trouw and the Financieele Dagblad say on Tuesday.
The leak of millions of documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca has again focused attention on the Netherlands as a tax haven and led to more calls for a government inquiry into tax legislation and the use of offshore trusts and shell companies.
Seedorf’s connection with the Panama firm revolves around an Italian jewellery company which sponsored his motor sport team for €600,000. After the contract was sold several times via a company based on the British Virgin Islands, the deal was eventually worth €3m, the FD says.
Another Dutchman who made use of Mossack Fonseca is Jos van der Vorm, who was a member of the High Court’s tax chamber from 1979 to 1986 and has used a complicated construction based on Bermuda to keep his assets hidden, the FD says.
Trouw points out that using offshore trusts is not illegal, as long as the tax office has been informed, and that it is unclear which of the Dutch nationals named in the papers have done this.
The multinational research foundation Somo estimates the Dutch tax authorities missed out on €15m between 2005 and 2014 because of tax evasion by companies. This is the equivalent of €200 per worker per year, the FNV trade union said.
Part of the problem
Meanwhile, finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem has said that the Netherlands is too often being used by companies to avoid tax and has so become ‘part of the problem’.
Speaking in Berlin on Monday evening, Dijsselbloem said: ‘Now the Netherlands holds the EU presidency, we must become part of the solution.’
The implementation of the European Commission’s proposals – based on paying tax in the country where profit is made – should be speeded up, the FD quotes Dijsselbloem as saying.
The Panama Papers ‘are of social importance’, he said. ‘They highlight the social injustice of citizens paying their taxes properly and companies failing to do the same.’
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