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Panama Papers: ALDE stresses need for action and demands effective protection for whistle blowers

alde groupBRUSSELS, September 28, 2016 - During yesterday’s first hearing, the Members of the PANA Inquiry Committee had an exchange of views with some of the journalists who revealed the scandal of the so-called Panama Papers. The journalists discussed their investigative work on the files with the Members and gave conclusions and possible recommendations. Following the first hearing of the Committee, ALDE Co-Rapporteur Petr Ježek (ANO, Czech Republic) commented:

“The hearing gave us a more detailed insight into the revelations of the Panama Papers. I would like to thank the journalists who made it clear to us that these shady money flows run right under our noses and that their findings are only the tip of the iceberg.”

“We expect strong reluctance from all those interested in keeping this profitable but opaque business up and running, but we are very determined to keep this issue high on the agenda. We owe this to the European taxpayers.”

MEP Michael Theurer (FDP, Germany), ALDE Group’s co-ordinator and former co-rapporteur of the Tax Special Committee (TAXE), added:

"The statements of these investigative journalists confirmed the urgent need for action and the willingness of politicians to investigate this scandal. On the one hand, we instantly need effective protection for whistle-blowers as well as an adequate protection of sources for journalists. It cannot be possible that informants who act in the public interest have to stand trial in EU Member States.”

“I also agree that our system of constitutional and liberal democracy is at risk, if there are rules that apply to the general public but not to the super-rich and powerful.”

Editor Note: The list of journalists who discussed their work with the Committee included journalists from Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), Knack magazine (Belgium), Norddeutscher Rundfunk (Germany), MOT (Finland) and Sonntagszeitung/Le Matin (Switzerland). The first articles about the scandal were published in April 2016. Soon after, the European Parliament set up an Inquiry Committee to investigate money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (PANA). It has twelve months to deliver a report. The next regular hearing of the Committee is scheduled on 13 Oct 2016.

ALDE Group/Brussels

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