Nick Shaxson ■ Juncker invites himself to Luxleaks hearing
This blog looks at a report from EurActiv about the so-called Luxleaks probes, which are looking at whether multinational companies using Luxembourg schemes (involving so-called ‘tax rulings’) violated European rules. Jean-Claude Juncker is not only head of the European Commission, but former premier of Luxembourg. Euractiv reports that the tax rulings committee had sought to interview European Commisioner Pierre Moscovici, but it didn’t quite work out like that:
“Strangely enough, the Commissioner didn’t answer the committee’s request to meet. Jean-Claude Juncker, who must have been warned (or was asked for authorisation) picked up the phone, instead. To the committee’s surprise, not only did he give a green light for his Commissioner to come over. The head of the executive also said he would come himself, and answer the questions of MEPs “as the President of the Commission”. That means Juncker won’t testify as the former premier of Luxembourg.
And it’s got another interesting detail about a man described by the Wall Street Journal:
“Marius Kohl spent years engineering this country’s most valuable export: tax relief. As head of a federal agency called Sociétés 6, Mr. Kohl approved thousands of tax arrangements for multinational corporations, sometimes helping them save billions.
. . .
“I could say ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ ” Mr. Kohl, a bearded 61-year-old with a ponytail, said in a recent interview, which he described as his first. “Sometimes it’s easier if you only have to ask one person.”
Back to Euractiv:
The committee has been trying to reach “Mister Ruling”, Marius Kohl, on his cell phone, again and again. But the former tax chief never answers.”
So just how much was Juncker responsible for the tax haven of Luxembourg? Well, he will surely try to duck out of answering that question seriously. In any case, we think that the committee should be reminded of this graph, which we’ve used before. Click to enlarge it; click here to see the sources, including a special mention for Gabriel Zucman and David Walch: