Taxman recovers €10m from Panama, Swiss leaks

The Tax Compliance Unit (TCU) has recovered €10.8 million in tax revenue from its investigations into the Swiss leaks and Panama Papers data.

Figures provided by the TCU show that €7 million was recovered from its investigations into the Swiss leaks data alone.

Swiss leaks featured lists of account holders from around the globe who banked with HSBC Geneva.

Data released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in 2015 showed that a total of €607 million was kept in 139 bank accounts by Maltese account holders.

TCU data shows that 96 taxpayers featured on the Maltese list of account holders.

To date, 87 cases have been processed. A total of €4.1 million in fines was levied on €2.9 million worth of tax that was evaded down the years, the data shows.

More revenue was set to be recovered as some of the more complex cases were still being investigated, the TCU said.

Former PN ministers Ninu Zammit and Michael Falzon featured in the Swiss leaks data.

Both men benefited from tax amnesties prior to the Swiss leaks data being made public.

Over €148 million in undeclared foreign holdings have been repatriated under tax amnesties granted since 2002.

The 2014 tax amnesty saw €69.6 million worth of foreign-held assets previously unknown to the Maltese tax authorities being registered.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had said in 2015 that the government would publish a list of all politically exposed persons (PEPs) in the Swiss leaks data.

Dr Muscat had said decisions would be taken on whether PEPs on this list with current political appointments would be suspended or be asked to resign.

This list of PEPs was never published by the government.

Investigations into the Panama Papers data leak are much more complex given the lack of cooperation from the Panamanian authorities.

A total of 237 taxpayers in the form of individuals, companies and trustees feature in the TCU’s investigations.

A pre-audit report is under way on all the cases, of which 71 individuals and companies are already undergoing a full investigation.

The TCU said more cases would be investigated after the conclusion of the pre-audit report and following the verification of the level of tax risk.

A total of €2.6 million in evaded tax has been recovered so far, and €1.2 million worth of fines have been levied.

Inland Revenue has in the past confirmed that all individuals named in the Panama Papers would be investigated, meaning that the tax affairs of both Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri are being looked at.

The amount recovered from the leaks is equivalent to 0.8 per cent of income tax revenues in 2016.

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