Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Switzerland: time for Independent Commission of Truth and Justice

Switzerland has been fighting hard to attack and undermine long-running transparency efforts in Europe, and in recent days it's been playing a particularly pernicious role. (Christian Aid's new report Swisspoliation adds more: and that's just the charge sheet of the last few days. The case against Switzerland is long, extremely ugly, and goes back decades. Despite some moderate improvements in recent years, the country remains justifiably at the top of TJN's Financial Secrecy Index.

We thought we would now publish a letter circulated to us, originally from Ana Gomes, a Member of the European Parliament. Directed to Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, it speaks for itself, and relates to this Change.Org Petition, which we mentioned before and is entitled The citizens demand actions against corruption and the secrets hidden by Switzerland. The letter is from Monday:
Dear President Van Rompuy,

One of the main problems affecting the EU and several EU Member States in particular is the lack of sufficient financial and fiscal resources to invest in the economies and job creation and to deliver to citizens even the most basic services and infrastructure they expect and deserve. Sadly, tax evasion, tax avoidance and corruption are a reality and they have been protected by Switzerland, Liechtenstein and other tax havens and money laundering financial centres (including EU Member States), undermining governance in the EU by covering up criminal activities.

To put an end to this long running conspiracy to defraud all EU Member States, that undermine all EU economies - with the excuse of financial secrecy - more than 24 thousand EU citizens, including me, have already signed the petition #TruthCH (#VeriteCH-#VerdadCH-#WahrheitCH-#VerdadeCH) demanding to the EU institutions the creation of an Independent Truth and Justice Commission on Switzerland to investigate its role in political corruption and tax evasion.

I hope that you agree that, at this time in European history, it does not matter how many thousands of citizens have signed this urgent demand for action. It is our obligation as representatives of all 500 million Europeans to act, without further  delay,  to stop this unacceptable behaviour, investigate the truth and prosecute all criminally responsible as they are not only undermining our economies with their secret cross border financial services but are also eroding our democracy by hiding corrupt and illegal assets. This has been the case for too many decades.

The ECOFIN meeting taking place tomorrow, 14th of May 2013, under the presidency of Mr Michael Noonan, Minister for Finance of Ireland, will decide on very important EU instruments to tackle tax evasion. I urge you, thus, to bring up the creation of an Independent Truth and Justice Commission on Switzerland in the discussion.

We cannot remain indifferent. I look forward to working with you to build a social and transparent Europe that will fight together against all forms of corruption, tax evasion and avoidance.

You may find the complete text of the petition, along with the weblink, below,

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Ana Gomes
Member of the European Parliament



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