“The European Investment Bank (EIB) new interim policy towards offshore financial centres (OFCs) announced today is a first step in the right direction”, says Counter Balance spokesman – member of the Italian Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale, Antonio Tricarico. “Unfortunately it is also insufficient to tame the gigantic tax elusion of transnational business”.

Furthermore, Counter Balance welcomes that the EIB finally recognises that practices in offshore financial centers needs an enhanced due diligence and precise ex-ante requests to business backed by the Bank’s taxpayers money.

Antonio Tricarico adds: “We would see as a very positive step ahead in the fight against capital flight if the EU House-Bank were to take the lead worldwide in developing a more stringent definition of offshore financial centers and prohibited jurisdictions. In this regard, the prohibited lists internationally used do not go far enough”.

“The proof is in the pudding”, thus the Counter Balance coalition will keep screening any operation backed by the EIB especially with regards to the new commitment to avoid support for structures located in monitored jurisdiction.

“Flying in the face of development. How European Investment Bank loans enable tax havens”, the Counter Balance & Eurodad in-depth analysis of the European Investment Bank loans for development projects to borrowers using tax evasion & tax avoidance schemes published last month demonstrates that no less than EUR 5.66 billion flighs to the top tax haven users from the UK, France and the Netherlands, while EUR 210 million has gone to African funds using tax havens in their strategies. Furthermore, some of the major infrastructure projects financed by the EIB in the name of development happen to have close links with tax havens, which is also the case with financial intermediaries benefiting via the EIB’s Global loans.

“It is disturbing that the EIB and the European governments are not willing yet to tackle the fundamental problem of the private sector financial institutions which heavily benefit from the Bank’s public support through so-called ‘global loans’ and are among the key players enjoying tax elusion through tax havens” says Antonio Tricarico, CRBM campaigner. “More brave measures of systematised and thorough screening of financial intermediaries and company blacklisting should be set up soon, such as the recent ad hoc action by the EIB towards Austrian private banks. The EU House-Bank has still a tremendous leverage to play in order to condition the European private financial sector to act for the benefit of the European citizenship and to guarantee that invested money benefits the local communities in developing countries.”

“Flying in the face of development. How European Investment Bank loans enable tax havens” is a report commissioned by the Counter Balance coalition to Eurodad policy analyst Marta Ruiz.

Counter Balance coalition spokespersons:

IT: Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale – CRBM (Roma) Antonio Tricarico

Download the full report “Flying in the face of development. How European Investment Bank loans enable tax havens”