Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Dirty money goes Dutch

We have been alerted to an interesting article in de Volkskrant, the major left-of-the-centre newspaper in the Netherlands. It is in Dutch, but you can find a (slightly comical but more or less comprehensible) automatic translation of it here; the original article in Dutch is here.

An interesting tax twist is emerging from the current wave of bank nationalisations. Banks that have been using accounts that facilitate tax evasion - and then being nationalised - are in an unusual position, since their new owners -- the governments -- theoretically should now be able to see the accounts that were previously hidden from them.

The Volkskrant article is about the Fortis Bank Nederland and ABN Amro Nederland, recently nationalised by the Dutch government, and it mentions Wouter Bos, who is the Dutch finance minister. We can't quote directly from the article yet, since our Dutch isn't quite up to scratch, but an email from a correspondent in Amsterdam to TJN said that Volkskrant had:

"published a front page article about the dossiers that the Dutch Finance Minister has acquired with the purchase of Fortis Bank Nederland and ABN Amro Bank Netherlands. These include accounts with ‘black’ money of Dutch people at ABN Amro branches in Switzerland and Luxembourg. A spokesperson of the bank said that banking secrecy will be respected."

We should also add that our good friends and TJN partners, SOMO, are mentioned in the article, which notes:

"Recent research by SOMO, the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations, shows that Fortis operates loads of subsidiaries in tax havens. In 2007, SOMO-researchers counted more than 700 of them, in fiscal outbacks such as the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Panama and the Netherlands Antilles."

Part of the tax haven subsidiaries belong to Fortis Intertrust, a leading provider of management services for mailbox companies, which is part of Fortis Bank Netherlands. The ground-breaking SOMO report that describes the Dutch trust services industry is here. We would welcome any comments from those who can read Dutch and provide more quotes, and any other information.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it says at the end that this does not have high priority at the moment.

1:10 pm  

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