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Παράδεισος φοροδιαφυγής, κόλαση για whistleblowers

Μοιάζει για σενάριο ταινίας πολιτικής συνωμοσίας: οι δύο πληροφοριοδότες δημοσίου συμφέροντος (whistleblowers) που αποκάλυψαν ότι το Λουξεμβούργο ήταν φορολογικός παράδεισος και ο δημοσιογράφος που δημοσίευσε τις περιβόητες αποκαλύψεις τους, γνωστές ως Luxleaks, κάθισαν ξανά χθες στο εδώλιο του κατηγορούμενου. Και η συνωμοσία δεν σταματάει εδώ: Το Λουξεμβούργο που μετά τις αποκαλύψεις του 2014 είχε ορκιστεί ότι θα αντιμετωπίσει το πρόβλημα, το πολλαπλασίασε. Συναγωνιζόμενο με το Βέλγιο, που είδε φως (διαφθοράς) και ανέβηκε.

του Στέλιου Κούλογλου

Ας πάρουμε τα πράγματα με τη σειρά. Με το σκάνδαλο Luxleaks αποκαλύφτηκε ότι χαριστικές συμφωνίες (“sweetheart deals”) μεταξύ της κυβέρνησης του Λουξεμβούργου και μεγάλων πολυεθνικών εταιρειών, διευκόλυναν τις τελευταίες να πληρώνουν ελάχιστο φόρο, συχνά κάτω από 1% επί των κερδών τους. Το Μεγάλο Δουκάτο επωφελείτο συγκεντρώνοντας τις εταιρείες στο έδαφος του και οι τελευταίες έκλεβαν μαζί του τις υπόλοιπες χώρες της ΕΕ, αποφεύγοντας να πληρώσουν φόρους.

Ο Ραφαέλ Αλέ, ένας από τους γενναίους πληροφοριοδότες της υπόθεσης, καλεσμένος στο πρόσφατο σχετικό Φεστιβάλ ντοκιμαντέρ και στην ημερίδα στο Ευρωκοινοβούλιο για την προστασία των whistleblowers είχε αποκαλύψει ανάμεσα σε άλλες και τις εταιρίες κολοσσούς ΙΚΕΑ, Amazon και Itunes, παράρτημα της γνωστής και μη εξαιρετέας Apple.

Όμως στη χθεσινή εκδήλωση συμπαράστασης στους δικαζόμενους που έγινε στο Λουξεμβούργο, όπου παρευρέθηκα εκ μέρους της Ευρωπαϊκής Αριστεράς, επιβεβαίωσα μέσω επαφών κάποια νέα δεδομένα, που μοιάζουν σχεδόν απίστευτα. Μετά την διεθνή κατακραυγή για το σκάνδαλο Luxleaks, θα περίμενε κανείς ότι Λουξεμβουργιανοί και άλλοι Ευρωπαίοι θα ήταν πιο προσεκτικοί. Συνέβη το ακριβώς αντίθετο: οι χαριστικές συμφωνίες στην ΕΕ απογειώθηκαν από 547 το 2013, σε 972 το 2014 και έφτασαν στις 1444 στο τέλος του 2015. Πρόκειται για αύξηση 160% ανάμεσα στο 2013 και το 2015 και 50% ανάμεσα στο 2014, όταν αποκαλύφθηκε το σκάνδαλο, και το 2015!

Tι έγινε όμως στο ίδιο το Λουξεμβούργο, την πέτρα του σκανδάλου; Σύμφωνα με τα στοιχεία του πολύ έγκυρου Eurodad (European Network on Debt and Developement) στο τέλος του 2015 οι χαριστικές συμφωνίες έφτασαν τις 519, που σημαίνει 50% αύξηση από τις 347 στο τέλος του 2014! Το γειτονικό Βέλγιο έσκασε από τη ζήλια του και δεν έμεινε άπραγο, πολλαπλασιάζοντας τις χαριστικές συμφωνίες από 10 το 2013 σε 411 το 2015! Φαίνεται ότι η παραπομπή σε δίκη και η πρωτόδικη καταδίκη των δύο whistleblowers (ο δημοσιογράφος που δημοσίευσε τα Luxleaks αθωώθηκε αλλά η εισαγγελία του Λουξεμβούργου άσκησε έφεση) λειτούργησε σαν πράσινο φως για να προσκληθούν και άλλοι, στο πάρτι της διαφθοράς.

Δεν μπορεί όμως να υπάρξει στοιχειώδης κοινωνική δικαιοσύνη, ούτε σοβαρή βελτίωση των δημόσιων οικονομικών στις περισσότερες ευρωπαϊκές χώρες, αν οι μεγάλες εταιρείες εξακολουθήσουν να φοροδιαφεύγουν ασυστόλως. Η θαρραλέα αρμόδια επίτροπος της Κομισιόν M. Βεστάγκερ επέβαλλε θηριώδες πρόστιμο 13 δις ευρώ (συν οι τόκοι) στην Apple, η οποία παρανόμως πιστώνει όλες τις ευρωπαϊκές της πωλήσεις στη θυγατρική της στην Ιρλανδία, όπου η φορολογία των επιχειρήσεων είναι χαμηλή. Έτσι το 2014 η Apple έφτασε να πληρώνει μόνο 0.005% φόρο επί των κερδών της. Τα 13 δις της ποινής, σύμφωνα με την απόφαση της Επιτρόπου, πρέπει να επιστραφούν στα ταμεία της Ιρλανδίας, αλλά η κυβέρνηση της τελευταίας άσκησε έφεση κατά της απόφασης!

Για την αντιμετώπιση του προβλήματος, η στάση των κυβερνήσεων είναι καθοριστική. Ένα πολύ σημαντικό θέμα είναι αν θα υποχρεωθούν οι πολυεθνικές εταιρείες να δημοσιεύουν τις οικονομικές τους δραστηριότητες ανά χώρα και το φόρο που πλήρωσαν σε αυτές. Προς το παρόν οι χώρες που αντιτίθενται στο μέτρο (Γερμανία, Αυστρία, Τσεχία, Δανία, Λεττονία, Σλοβενία και Σουηδία) είναι περισσότερες από αυτές (Γαλλία, Ολλανδία, Ισπανία και πιθανώς Μ. Βρετανία) που το υποστηρίζουν, αλλά ο αριθμός της τελευταίας κατηγορίας αυξάνεται. «Πρόκειται για μια από τις μεγαλύτερες πολιτικές μάχες που θα δοθούν το 2017», καταλήγει το πόρισμα του Eurodad.

Παράλληλα με την υιοθέτηση νομοθεσίας για την προστασία των whistleblowers, που πρέπει να τιμώνται και να επιβραβεύονται, αντί να καταστρέφεται η ζωή τους, να στέλνονται σε δίκες και να απειλούνται με φυλακές.

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