Europe's five leading economies called Thursday for a crackdown on tax havens, urging the G20 powers to end the secrecy of shell companies that enables tax evasion and money laundering.
In the strongest reaction yet to the leaked "Panama Papers," the finance ministers of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain also proposed a blacklist of havens like Panama if they do not share corporate registry data. "The recent extensive leaks from Panama show the critical importance of the fight against tax evasion, aggressive tax planning and money laundering," the five European Union ministers said in a statement.
The proposal was made as the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) kicked off, with fighting tax evasion one issue being discussed to help countries strengthen finances and boost growth. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the illicit financial activities enabled by tax havens undermined the fight against poverty. "When taxes are evaded, when state assets are taken and put into these havens, all of these things can have a tremendous negative effect on our mission to end poverty and boost prosperity," Kim said.
Meanwhile, Spain's acting industry minister, whose name has been linked to offshore companies, has resigned, the ruling Popular Party said Friday. Jose Manuel Soria's resignation from Parliament and his ministerial posts came days before he was due to appear in Parliament to explain his claim that he never ran or owned a Bahamian offshore company, although his name appeared on leaked documents identifying him as director of a firm.