Dear friends and all those who are interested,
On Wednesday, 24 February, the Subcommittee on Tax in the European Parliament will hold an open hearing to investigate the European response to the Cum-Ex/Cum-Cum scandal, following a Green initiative for renewed parliamentary scrutiny of this vast tax scam. Between 2002 and 2012, tax authorities in Europe were cheated out of at least 55 billion euros of taxpayers’ money by refunding dividend taxes that were never paid. More than two years after the European Parliament, also on the initiative of the Greens, demanded comprehensive clarification in a resolution, shockingly little has happened. While the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has complied with the Parliament’s request and presented a comprehensive report on the integrity of financial markets, the European Banking Authority (EBA) has not yet done nearly enough. It is therefore high time to take stock and discuss the necessary consequences.
The public hearing on 24 February starts at 13:45 and can be followed live without registration via the following link: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/fisc/meetings/webstreaming
One important topic at the hearing will be the implementation of ESMA’s recommendations. In its report, ESMA had suggested two significant regulatory changes: a link between the tax reclaim and the dividend distribution of a share so that the reclaim can only be made once, and an adjustment of the Market Abuse Regulation to improve communication between national supervisory authorities. From ESMA’s side, Fabrizio Planta, Head of the Markets and Data Reporting Department, will be present to present these and other recommendations.
I will also be pushing for further clarification, as important questions remain unanswered: Which actors were involved across Europe? What is the extent of Cum-Ex/Cum-Cum tax fraud in Europe? And where are possible national and European breaches of law? In particular, the EBA has not answered the question of whether Cum-Ex/Cum-Cum, at least in certain cases, also constitutes a breach of the Market Abuse Regulation in addition to the offence under tax law. Olaya Argueso Perez, Editor-in-Chief of Correctiv, and Christoph Spengel, Professor of International Business Taxation at Mannheim University, will certainly provide valuable insights with regard to these questions.
The preliminary programme can be viewed here: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/the-cum-ex-cum-cum-scandal/product-details/20210217CHE08344
If you have any precise information to share which might help our parliamentary work as we scrutinise the factors which facilitated this large-scale tax heist, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
With resolute European greetings,