What's New(s)

What's New(s) - Pandora Papers - 08/10/2021

 What's New(s) - Pandora Papers - 08/10/2021

What´s New(s)? La revue de presse anglophone – Erik Ruiz Martín & Nadine Vermeulen

The world was shocked when the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published the so-called Pandora Papers last weekend.

You'll find the script below:

What did the European press write about this massive leak?

Indeed, it was an astonishing disclosure made by the ICIJ. News outlets across the world soon started sharing the names of some of the world’s most famous included in the papers, which included over 4 million PDFs; 1,8 million Word Documents; 1,2 million e-mails and nearly 500.000 spreadsheets. Worldwide, the list included over 330 former and current politicians, reported Associated Press, including Jordan’s King Abdullah II; Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta; and Russian president Vladimir Putin. But Europe’s leaders were certainly not excluded from the list, revealed a map published on ICIJ’s website. Some of the countries most red-coloured in Europe included the UK (9 politicians), Spain (5 politicians), Italy (4 politicians) and France (3 politicians). POLITICO cited some of the top European figures mentioned in the data leak, including Andrey Bâbis, PM of the Czech Republic; Tony Blair, former British PM; and Wopke Hoekstra, who served as the Dutch finance minister.

And what were the repercussions in respective countries?

In the UK, British newspapers underlined that the files included disclosures about major donors to the Conservative party, including Lubov Chernukhin, wife of a former Russian minister and one of the biggest donors of the party. This revelation raised difficult questions for Boris Johnson, while his party was about to hold its annual conference, wrote the Guardian. In the Netherlands, the future political career of now outgoing minister Wopke Hoekstra already did not look that bright. Now that it turned out he had a business interest a letter box company in the British Virgin Islands, the parliament asked for immediate clarification.

What about France and Spain?

In Spain, the list of personalities involved in the scandal ranges from famous singers such as Shakira, who lives in Spain, and Miguel Bosé, to sports stars such as Pep Guardiola. Former King Juan Carlos appears in the papers published by El País as a beneficiary of Corinna Larsen, who is said to have a relationship with the king. In France, 600 citizens appear on the list. According to Le Monde, the government has already launched an inquiry to verify the alleged presence of French citizens on the list and to act accordingly. Former head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss Khan and a former advisor to Le Pen are among names published.

But what did they write about the EUs role in the issue, does the European Commission do enough to avoid tax avoidance in Europe?

Well according to Deutsche Welle, the biggest ever leak of offshore papers has raised uncomfortable questions for the EU leaders. European Commission spokesperson Dana Spinant appeared cautious while talking to the reports, insisting that much had been done by the European Commission the last years to tackle tax avoidance. The EU’s promise to combat tax evasion however rang hollow, argued the newspaper, while some of the bloc’s own members such as Malta and Cyprus still serve as havens. Spanish newspaper El Diario underlined that the European Commission deliberately avoided commenting on any names of some of the EU’s top politicians appearing in the papers, including of the Maltese ex-commissioner John Dalli. In Malta itself, the Maltese Times cited the police commissioner, Angelo Gafà, who promised to investigate allegations of crime that came to their attention through the Pandora Papers.

Then moving on to another issue, it seems like Spain and France have teamed up to find a solution to the energy crisis that is raising the price of gas and electricity across Europe?

That’s correct. The meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg had as one of its central debates the rise in electricity prices. France and Spain have joined forces in the context of “unbearable” electricity price increases that are hitting consumers and driving up inflation, wrote Mehreen Khan in the Financial Times. The approaches of both countries are different. Derek Perrotte writes in Les Echos that France is willing to revise the European electricity market, which is ‘aberrant’ and ‘obsolete’. On the other hand, according to Reuters, Spain proposed a strategic European gas reserve, which would help the EU negotiate lower prices. According to POLITICO, the Commission asked the countries to keep calm and to react but not to overreact to this crisis.

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