Czech PM calls for probe into activities of Czechs on Panama Papers files
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has called on the Czech tax authorities to launch a thorough investigation into the activities of close to 300 Czechs who are among those named in the Panama Papers. The list of Czechs suspected of using offshore companies to avoid paying tax includes the country’s richest Czech, billionaire Petr Kellner, owners of Czech solar plants and big players in the 1990 privatization deals.
“The tax authorities must react to this data leak and check out the information published. I expect a detailed and thorough investigation into the activities of those Czechs whose names have appeared on the Panama Papers files.”
According to Pavla Holcová from the Centre for Investigative Journalism Czechs tend to base their firms in the Seychelles where Mossack Fonseca has set up more than 800 companies. Other tax havens favoured by Czechs are the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Panama and Samoa.
According to Czech Television the country’s special tax evasion squad Kobra has started looking into the matter. The country annually losses around 150 billion crowns through tax evasion and the special squad, set up in 2014, has largely focused on the big players in the field. The leaked Panama data might provide valuable information. However the country’s Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, himself a billionaire businessman whose name does not appear on the list, has warned that an offshore company does not automatically imply tax evasion or money-laundering.
“Panama is known as a country that keeps a tight lid on information of this kind, so we need to find out more, we need to ascertain if these documents are trustworthy.”
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in this connection that the Panama Papers scandal should serve as an impulse for a broad international drive against tax-havens, offshore companies and anonymous shares.
Czech Radio would like to apologize to Mr. Tomáš Berdych that we mistakenly reported in a news item on April 5, 2016 that his name appeared in the Panama Papers database. The name of Mr. Tomáš Berdych does not appear on the pages that we indicated: https://www.investigace.cz/panamapapers, and, according to other available information does not appear on the Panama Papers database.
Link to ČTK apology: http://www.ctk.eu/news/?id=2508