Today the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued its report on Cum-Ex / Cum-Cum & Co (euphemistically called “dividend arbitrage”). The report was requested by the European Parliament on initiative of us Greens, to assess these transactions of a cross-border nature. In particular, the European Parliament wanted more clarity with regard to the types of actors involved and the magnitude of the schemes. The banking supervisory authority (EBA) was also given this mandate, but has not yet produced any satisfactory results. I am pleased about the thorough work of ESMA, which for the first time is investigating the integrity of the financial markets in a specific area.
With its analyses and recommendations, ESMA has made an important contribution to the investigation of this large-scale fraud to the detriment of European public coffers. However, since its mandate does not cover taxation, ESMA has understandably reached its limits in this work. The most important finding of the report is a proposal as to how multiple tax reclaims can be reliably prevented in the future: A link between the tax reclaim and the dividend distribution of a share is needed so that the reclaim can only be made once. This is the only way to get to the root of the problem. The ball is now in the court of the EU Commission. It should swiftly present a legislative proposal so that the tax theft finally comes to an end everywhere in Europe.
ESMA is also proposing to adjust the Market Abuse Regulation in order to improve communication between national supervisors. This makes sense, because it will make it easier to uncover ongoing tax theft in retrospect. Unfortunately, ESMA did not provide a conclusive answer to Parliament’s question about the types of actors involved and the magnitude of the schemes. This remains a key job for the ongoing EBA investigation.
I will propose to invite ESMA as soon as possible to the new Tax Subcommittee of the European Parliament to present this report and discuss it with the EU Commission, MEPs and experts. In addition, as the responsible rapporteur, I will examine to what extent amendments to the “Directive on Administrative Cooperation” could also strengthen the European fight against tax theft through Cum-Ex / Cum-Cum.
With green European greetings,
Link to the European Parliament resolution on Cum-Ex/Cum-Cum: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-8-2018-0475_EN.html
P.S.: Italian-German webinar on “Funding the Corona Recovery by curbing tax dumping and money laundering” with Finance Ministers Scholz (Germany) und Gualtieri (Italy) on Wednesday, 30.9.2020 7-8pm CEST. Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Tt9-EIA_Q9-1eC_QetcPCg