Biggest European groups are big in tax havens: NGO

12th June 2013, Comments 0 comments

The 50 largest European companies are all heavily present in tax havens with an average of 117 offshore subsidiaries each, a French NGO said on Wednesday.

The report by non-governmental organisation CCFD-Terre Solidaire and CERAS, an organisation that analyses social issues, comes after France's government pledged to act against tax havens in the light of a tax fraud scandal.

CCFD went through the accounts and activity reports of the listed companies, which include the banks HSBC, BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank, carmakers such as Peugeot and Volkswagen as well as Siemens and Vodafone.

It found that all of the 50 companies -- the biggest in Europe by turnover -- were present in tax havens with the number of subsidiaries there accounting for 29 percent of their overall subsidiaries abroad.

"Just in the Cayman Islands, they have more subsidiaries than they have in Brazil and twice as many as in India. And in Luxembourg nearly as many as in China," said the report, titled "In the paradise of lost taxes".

"While this does not constitute proof of tax evasion, this massive concentration of offshore subsidiaries goes hand-in-hand with an opacity in accounting that makes it hard to localise the 208-billion-euro ($277-billion) profits of these firms in 2012."

The two organisations called on G8 nations, which are meeting in Northern Ireland next week, as well as on the rich and emerging countries of the G20, to take measures to fight the trend.

© 2013 AFP

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