Thursday, September 22, 2016

Anti-corruption watchdog seeks EU help after Bahamas leaks

BRUSSELS -- Anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has urged the European Union to take the lead in efforts to expose those who represent, or profit, from businesses with secretive links to the world's biggest tax havens, as criticism mounted Thursday of a former top EU official caught up in a wide-ranging document leak from the Bahamas.

Neelie Kroes, who used to lead the European Commission's powerful anti-trust unit between 2004 and 2010, was one of the most high-profile names that emerged in a cache of documents of the Bahama's corporate registry leaked Wednesday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and media partners.

The leak revealed the names of directors and owners of more than 175,000 Bahamian companies, trusts and foundations, ranging from prime ministers and princes to convicted felons. The disclosures follow the international uproar over the leak of the so-called "Panama Papers" earlier this year that revealed details on offshore accounts that helped foreigners shelter their wealth.

In the Bahamas leak, Kroes was revealed as director of one company -- Mint Holdings -- that she had not declared when she became the EU's Commissioner for Competition in 2004. Mint Holdings had been allegedly set up from the United Arab Emirates, with the aim of helping to acquire the assets of energy giant Enron, which subsequently collapsed following a massive accounting scandal.  (more...)

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