Today the Pandora Papers went public. That’s the leaked accounts of 14 companies that specialize in helping other companies pay as little tax as possible.
Member of the Senate
It became clear, among other things, that CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra invested money in a company through a letterbox company in the British Virgin Islands, a notorious tax haven. Hoekstra had invested 26,500 euros. He sold his stake just before he became finance minister, in October 2017.
Hoekstra had already been a member of the Senate for six years. As a senator, he also sat on a committee dealing with the fight against tax avoidance.
Hoekstra says in response to the news that he was not aware that the company was based in the British Virgin Islands. He says he has always adhered to all the rules, and that he has never made a profit from the investment. According to the minister, his investment had become worth 4800 euros more when he relinquished it, but he donated that money to ‘a Dutch charity for the benefit of scientific research into cancer’.
According to PVV leader Geert Wilders, it stinks on all sides. “Typical CDA. Reading the lesson to others in a high tone, but acting wrongly”, Wilders points to Hoekstra’s pleas not to avoid tax.
SP party chairman Lilian Marijnissen says that it is very worrying about ‘how credible this minister can still be in tackling tax avoidance’.
Damage to reputation in the Netherlands
PvdA MP Henk Nijboer believes that this will cause great damage to the reputation of the Netherlands and the Minister of Finance. “And it raises the question of what other financial interests he has. That Hoekstra would not know who the co-shareholders are is quite implausible and in any case incredibly naive and irresponsible.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver speaks of ‘extremely disturbing news’. “The bottom stone has to come up. He still has to be accountable in the House of Representatives next week.” The PvdA also wants Hoekstra to report to the House of Representatives as soon as possible.