Saturday 21 April 2018

Former EU Commissioner Kroes named in Bahamas leak

Dutch Former European Commissioner Neelie Kroes. Photo: MARCEL VAN HOORN/AFP/Getty Images
Dutch Former European Commissioner Neelie Kroes. Photo: MARCEL VAN HOORN/AFP/Getty Images
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Former EU competition tsar Neelie Kroes breached the European Commission's code of conduct after she failed to declare her directorship of an offshore company.

Ms Kroes - who has recently backed Ireland in its fight against the Commission's decision to force Ireland to collect €13bn in taxes from Apple - has admitted she didn't reveal that she was a director of a company in the Bahamas. There's no suggestion of any wrongdoing on behalf of either Ms Kroes or the company of which she was a director.

Her named has cropped up in a data dump of 1.3 million records of companies in the Bahamas.

The leak comes just five months after the so-called Panama Papers caused an international sensation with details of financial dealings of high-profile people all over the world.

Ms Kroes wrote in 'The Guardian' newspaper earlier this month that the Apple ruling marked an attempt to rewrite global tax rules - and would harm rather than boost competition.

"One of the best Competition Commissioners ever was the Dutch Commissioner between 2004 and 2010 (Ms Kroes) and she said yesterday that her successor was incorrect on the basis of this ruling because she shouldn't have used competition law to collect tax retrospectively," said Finance Minister Michael Noonan this month.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) said that its database now contains information on almost 500,000 offshore entities, which are part of the Panama Papers, the Offshore Leaks and Bahamas Leaks probe.

It added that the data covers nearly 40 years - from 1977 to 2016 - and contains links to people and companies in more than 200 countries and territories.

In all, the interactive application reveals more than 370,000 names of people and companies behind secret offshore structures.

Reports in the UK last night also revealed that Britain's home secretary Amber Rudd was involved in a Bahamas fund where a fellow director was jailed for making misleading statements to investors.

Irish Independent

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