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Complex structures and aggressive tax planning behind the Nicaragua Canal

Hernán Cortés Saenz

18 Nov 2016 13:04:05

A study – available only in Spanish – titled “Aggressive Tax Planning or Option Economy?: the case of the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Group,” analyses the ‘international tax rationale’ behind this megaproject that involves the creation of a structure with 16 companies located in jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, the Netherlands and the Cayman Islands. The conclusion is that the use of this multi-layered-structure seeks to avoid taxes. After being put on hold for decades, in 2013 the Nicaraguan government approved the Law 840 that awarded the licence for the construction of the canal, a free trade zone, two harbours and an airport to the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. Limited – linked to the Cayman Island based group HKND Group.  The Law 840, ...

June 2016 could be a crucial moment for whistleblowers’ protection

Hernán Cortés Saenz

16 Jun 2016 12:41:05

November 2014 was momentous month in the fight for global tax justice due to the Luxembourg Leaks (LuxLeaks) revelations by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism. The scandal showed up how EY, Deloitte, KPMG and in particular PricewaterhouseCoopers, helped multinational companies (MNCs) to obtain tax rulings – also known as sweetheart deals – in Luxembourg that reduced their tax payments dramatically. These revelations would not have been possible without the role played by the two whistleblowers that exposed the scandal, Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet. They, and Edouard Perrin – the journalist who first published the information – have been on trial in Luxembourg since April, and the prosecutors have demanded 18 months for the two whistleblowers and a fine for ...

The need for a UN tax body is more evident than ever

Hernán Cortés Saenz

15 Apr 2016 14:38:50

Once again, the global headlines are dominated by tax scandals. Thanks to the Panama Papers, tax dodging has never been higher on the public agenda, and the question of why the problem of tax dodging remains unsolved is being asked all over the world.  At the core of this problem is the fact that our governments still have no real global cooperation on tax issues, despite the fact that this is very clearly a global problem which calls for a global solution. Instead, so-called “global” standards are being adopted in exclusive forums where some countries are welcome and others are not. It was exactly this question that was the core of the fight when the world’s governments met last July at a very dramatic summit on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa. The developing countries ...

Sweetheart tax deals trending in the EU

Hernán Cortés Saenz

25 Feb 2016 11:25:18

The amazing world of ‘sweetheart tax deals’i  keeps surprising us on quite a regular basis. More than one year ago, the LuxLeaks revelations exposed the secret world of tax rulings that, in some cases, benefited multinational corporations with tax rates lower than 1%. Last October the European Commission, through an initiative by Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, announced that selective tax advantages issued through tax rulings for Fiat in Luxembourg and Starbucks in the Netherlands are illegal under EU State aid rules. In early 2016 Vestager announced that the same was the case for a Belgian tax ruling system called the excess profit exemption. Now, after analysing the official data on EU Advance Pricing Agreements’ (APA)ii  published a few months ago, the conclusion ...
Some weeks ago, Oxfam Intermón launched an excellent report called La Ilusión Fiscal, which analyses the relationship between the biggest Spanish companies and tax havens. The conclusions are astonishing: while Spain is losing almost €60 billion every ...
Mines, gold and taxes in Peru. The Yanacocha case. A new report produced by LATINDADD (Latin American Network on Debt, Development and Rights) questions the tax payments of one of the world’s biggest gold mines based in Peru – Yanacocha –, which ...
In July 2015, the international community will have the chance to change the future of finance development. Governments, civil society, trade unions and other actors will meet for the third UN conference on Financing for Development (Ffd) in Addis Ababa ...