Vietnam to investigate Panama papers case

VietNamNet Bridge – On May 10 the General Department of Taxation held an extraordinary meeting on the Panama papers case. The agency decided to set up a working group to investigate tax obligations of 189 organizations and individuals named in the list.


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According to an official who participated in the meeting, the working group will clarify whether these 189 organizations and individuals committed tax evasion. To do this task, cooperation among the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Public Security, and the State Bank of Vietnam is required.

The official also said that the number of organization and individuals in Vietnam in the Panama papers may be higher once the entire 11 million pages of documents are checked. Previously, on May 9, only 104 names from Vietnam were noted.

It will take much time and money as well as the participation of relevant agencies and foreign organizations to validate the data, he stressed.

On May 10, Pham Trong Dat, Head of the Anticorruption Department said the Government Inspectorate, has been following the Panama papers case before deciding to investigate it because the case needs the cooperation of various agencies, including international organizations.

Dat said the accuracy of the sources must be verified.

On May 9, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published a part of the Panama Papers that includes information on more than 200,000 offshore entities set up through and managed by Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm.

The revealed data names relating persons and businesses, including 189 people in Vietnam. 23 individuals and companies acted as middlemen, while 19 shell companies located overseas and 185 Vietnam-based companies, mostly in Hanoi and HCM City. are listed.

19 overseas companies in Vietnam have headquarters in the British Virgin Islands and only one is located in Panama.

The leaked Panama Papers contain 11.5m files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm in Panama, Mossack Fonseca, from 1977 to December 2015.

The records were provided to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source. 140 politicians and at least 29 billionaires from Forbes list of top 500 Richest were named on the papers.

It shows the real assets of wealthy individuals and how they can keep personal financial information secrets. Some of the shell corporations were used for illegal purposes, including fraud, theft of state property, tax evasion, and evading international sanctions.

Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and Spain’s Industry Minister José Manuel Soria had to resign over the Panama Papers. So far no-one in Vietnam has resigned based on the exposure.

The full list of individuals and companies can be found at https://offshoreleaks.icij.org.

 

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Pham Huyen

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