Intense debate dominates in corridors of the European Parliament this week on whether specific references to Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and other leaders should be included in a draft resolution that calls for investigation into politicians who have been linked to offshore dealings in the Pandora Papers.
At least two competing drafts are being considered by the European Parliament on Thursday, both calling on member states to investigate politicians whose names appear in the Pandora Papers, leaked documents revealing offshore structures and trusts in tax havens.
But one of them, sponsored by parties on the left (S&D, Renew, Greens), also calls for investigation by mentioning leaders by name, including Anastasiades, whose ex-law firm was implicated in hiding assets of a Russian businessman.
The draft says the EP “deplores the fact that a number of politicians, including EU high-level decision-makers, have also featured in the Pandora Papers, and calls on the authorities of the Member States involved to carry out appropriate investigations into any wrongdoing.”
Then it goes on to say that it “deplores, in particular, the fact that politicians such as Andrej Babiš, the Prime Minister of Czechia, and Nicos Anastasiades, the President of Cyprus, who both sit on the European Council” -along with other names listed- “have all been mentioned in the Pandora Papers with reported links with offshore dealings.”
PPE did raise questions about 'motives for the decisions of certain heads of state and government in the European Council and is particularly concerned by prevailing conflicts of interest'
But a competing draft from conservatives (PPE Group) has removed references to leaders including Anastasiades.
A center-right’s draft resolution says the EP is “deeply concerned by the fact that the Czech Prime Minister, Andrej Babis, is mentioned in the Pandora Papers as having used offshore financing to purchase property in France while at the same time participating in decision-making in the European Council, e.g. on the multiannual financial framework and anti-money laundering legislation.”
PPE did raise questions in the draft about “motives for the decisions of certain heads of state and government in the European Council and is particularly concerned by prevailing conflicts of interest.”
In the latest reveal of leaked financial information branded "Pandora Papers" by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, there were over 35 world leaders, including current and former presidents, prime ministers and heads of state, who are implicated in an expose of secret offshore affairs.
Anastasiades' ex law firm in Limassol, Nicos Chr. Anastasiades & Partners, appears in the Pandora Papers as having been accused of filing false information to Alcogal, a Panamanian offshore company broker that reported to authorities a suspicion that this had been done to hide assets of a controversial Russian billionaire.
The Cypriot president, who says he left the firm before he ever became president, has denied any wrongdoing in statements he made immediately following the revelations.
“I have no knowledge and it would be impossible for me to know and be in a position to respond to any allegations concerning the handling of the affairs of my ex-law firm,” Anastasiades had told The Guardian.