The recently uncovered dividend arbitrage scandals resulting in losses to taxpayers of at least EUR 55 billion were analysed by the taxation subcommittee on Wednesday.
Leading experts in the field, including the editor in chief of Correctiv, the media outlet leading the investigation known as the CumEx files, discussed with MEPs ways to stop the fraud. Olaya Argüeso Pérez, from Correctiv, said that the ease with which journalists from various countries could connect the dots whereas national authorities were oblivious showed that local action to tackle international fraudsters was not the solution. Fabrizio Planta, from ESMA, put forward suggestions for legal changes to the EU supervisory structure that could contribute to fighting fraudsters better. Christoph Spengel, professor of taxation at Mannheim university, critisised the German authorities for whitewashing when the fraud was brought to light. He said more powers needed to be given to prosecutors and investigations should move swiftly. He also criticised the reluctance at the national level to address the problem adequately. Numerous MEPs highlighted the need to have a clearer legal system for cooperation and information sharing between countries on tax matters. They also expressed dismay that, despite the fraud being highlighted, the same practices persist. MEPs also called on ESMA to undertake deeper inquiry into what went wrong and also to identify what improvements should be made at European and also national level.