European justice hinders transparency and arouses outrage

European justice hinders transparency and arouses outrage

European justice hinders transparency and arouses outrage

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This is a serious brake on financial transparency in Europe. In the name of respect for privacy, the Court of Justice of the European Union invalidates a directive against money laundering. In particular, it allowed the general public to consult the beneficiary records of companies registered in the Old Continent. NGOs are outraged.

Originally the initiative of two business owners registered in Luxembourg. They do not want their personal data to be accessible to everyone. Which, according to the complainants, exposes them to the risk of fraud, kidnapping, blackmail or extortion.

However, since 2018, the European directive against money laundering allows you to consult the data related to a company. This information includes the name of the holder, the month and year of his birth, the country of residence and nationality. A way to fight front companies run by front men. This process allows individuals or criminal networks to hide their assets resulting from tax evasion or corruption.

The opening of national registers has made it possible, in particular, to the openlux surveyby an international media group whose newspapers The world Y The nightthat last year uncovered tax evasion practices by large fortunes and multinationals in Luxembourg.


As soon as the CJEU’s decision was known, the Luxembourg government announced the suspension of Internet access to the “registry of real beneficiaries”. The Netherlands, also criticized for its tax practices, took a similar step.

A blow to the fight against tax havens »

The device, which is now questioned by the courts, outrages the NGOs. Transparency International believes that without these records, many anti-money laundering investigations would not have been successful. “ While there has never been so much dirty money in circulation, this decision is a blow to one of the most important measures of financial transparency in the last twenty years. “, estimated Patrick Lefas, president of Transparency International France, questioned by AFP. ” It is impossible to fight against what we do not see. The CJEU’s decision risks plunging us back into darkness and ignorance “, he explained in a press release.

It is a setback, a blow to the fight against corruption and tax havens “Quentin Parrinello, Oxfam spokesman on tax issues, told AFP. ” Many surveys have been carried out thanks to this public information “, he remembered.

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