On 18th October, the EU Parliamentary Research Service Blog published a post about a meeting of the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3) devoted to ‘golden visa’, ‘free ports’ and ‘letterbox companies’ from a money laundering and tax evasion perspective. Researchers from the EPRS Ex-Post Evaluation Unit and the European Added Value Unit will present 3 in-house studies to TAX3 Members –
- citizenship by investment (CBI) and residency by investment (RBI) schemes in the EU analyses the state of play and issues surrounding citizenship and residency by investment schemes (also known as ‘golden passports’ and ‘golden visas’) in the EU. It looks at their economic, social and political impacts and examines the risks they carry in respect of corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. The study compares the schemes offered by several EU Member States;
- money laundering and tax evasion risks in connection to free ports provides an insight, particularly those that function as (semi-) permanent storage for high value goods, such as art, antiques, diamonds or luxury wines. It provides an appreciation of the effectiveness of the UCC, the EU AML Directive and the Directive on Administrative Cooperation in addressing these risks and makes the connection to the unregulated market of ‘investment art’. Part of the research consists of a case study into the legal and supervisory framework at ‘Le Freeport’ in Luxembourg; and
- an overview of shell companies in the European Union, the main common feature of which is the absence of real economic activity in the Member State of registration. The study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon of shell companies by seeking to estimate the incidence of such companies, by means of a set of ‘proxy’ indicators at Member State level. It also explains the main risks associated with shell companies and current policies aimed at mitigating the risks identified.