• The very recent case of the “Pandora Papers” once again reveals strategies for optimization and tax evasion.

  • Cases of this type follow one another, but awareness of the problem seems to have progressed little.

  • Some specialists on the subject nevertheless consider that public opinion is less and less insensitive to these cases.

The financial scandals "Panama Papers" (2016), "Football Leaks" (2016), "Malta Files" (2017) and "OpenLux" (2021) are pleased to announce the arrival of the youngest: "Pandora Papers".

An explosive mix of tax optimization and fraudulent concealment of assets internationally, especially on the part of political leaders.

As a result, billions of euros that escape the tax authorities, and therefore national solidarity.

However, no monster demonstration is planned, in France or elsewhere, to denounce this state of affairs.

Enough to doubt those who spend their time denouncing and tracking down questionable practices.

"I fear that we will end up getting used to these scandals, with a form of weariness," confesses Raphaël Pradeau, spokesperson for the Attac association.

A not so surprising silence

“The memories wake up with each case, and then it falls very quickly. Who is talking about the consequences of the Panama Papers today? », Also notes Eric Vernier, specialist in money laundering issues. For Eric Bocquet, PCF senator and author of several books on tax fraud *, the most worrying is above all “the absence of an official reaction from the authorities”. Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of the Economy, nevertheless said on Tuesday: "If French tax residents were to be involved in abusive optimization schemes, the general directorate of public finances, at my request, would immediately initiate necessary steps in connection with justice to recover all the sums due ”.

But for Raphaël Pradeau, declarations of intent are no longer enough: “Few concrete things have been done in this five-year term.

The new aspect in the Pandora Papers is that we realize that those who are supposed to fight against tax evasion, such as heads of government or ministers, themselves hold assets in tax havens. or practice tax optimization ”.

"The political will is not always there, sometimes for personal reasons", continues Eric Vernier.

The illustration of this theory?

The famous photo of Jérôme Cahuzac, then minister, in front of a “Fight against tax fraud” desk at the end of 2012. A few years later, he will be condemned for having concealed part of his heritage.

"Tipping point"

See you, then, at the next case? The specialists interviewed by

20 Minutes

do not want to despair. "I think that citizens are starting to integrate this theme of tax fraud little by little, assures Eric Vernier. This was seen in particular through the movement of "yellow vests". If tomorrow, taxes were to increase, the accumulation of scandals could act as a detonator ”.

“The fact that public opinion realizes that politicians do not necessarily have an interest in combating tax evasion can constitute a tipping point, believes Raphaël Pradeau.

It is also up to organizations like ours to ensure that this theme exists on the media and political agenda and that we talk about it more than the change of first names ”.

Chance of the calendar, Attac launched last weekend a civil disobedience campaign by going "to take at the source" objects belonging to multinationals, behind the banner "Seizure for tax evasion".

"Fiscal COP"

"It is a fundamental question of democracy which can transcend political divisions," supports Eric Bocquet. States will have gigantic financing needs in the coming years, in particular to fight against global warming, and the fight against tax evasion can make it possible to recover resources ”. The revelations of the Panama Papers, for example, allowed the tax authorities to recover at least 133 million euros.

For Eric Vernier, this will involve "the development of artificial intelligence on the analysis of accounts and financial flows, as well as the training of tax auditors with sophisticated arrangements".

Eric Bocquet goes even further and calls for a “fiscal COP”, modeled on the climate COPs.

Strong developments which will require political will… itself fueled by pressure from public opinion.

People

"Pandora Papers": From Shakira to Elton John, the Stars Know About Tax Optimization

Sport

Pandora Papers: Quoted in the survey, Guy Forget "unable" to answer questions

* Latest book to date: “

 Billions on the run!

Manifesto for ethical finance

 ”(E.Bocquet, A.Bocquet, P.Gaumeton, published in Recherches-midi, 17 euros)

  • Pandora Papers

  • Tax fraud

  • Tax evasion

  • Tax optimization

  • Economy

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