European Union bigwig Neelie Kroes’ Bahamas money scandal

This video says about itself:

Former EU commissioner Neelie Kroes fails to declare directorship of offshore firm

21 September 2016

A fresh leak of tax haven data has named former European commissioner Neelie Kroes as having failed to declare her directorship of an offshore firm in the Bahamas while in office.

The information is contained in [a] list of directors and shareholders at 176,000 companies and trusts given to German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and the “International Consortium of Investigative Journalists“.

Read more here. And here.

Dutch European Union politician cum corporate capitalist Ms Neelie Kroes has  management jobs at Über multinational taxi corporation and Bank of America, after she had claimed she would not get any ‘revolving door‘ job after her term as European Commission member would finish.

Ms Kroes is a member of the pro-Big Business VVD political party. Before she was in the European Commission, she had been in parliament, in the Dutch government, etc.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Juncker, President of the European Commission, wants Neelie Kroes to explain as soon as possible about her management job at a company in the Bahamas. She held that post between 2000 and 2009. During that time she was also European Commissioner of Competition. According to the European Union code of conduct she should have notified her board position to the European Commission, but she never did.

According to a European Commission spokesman, it is important that the rules are respected. “We have very strict rules and must be confident that they are respected. We do not have a secret service which can go to the Bahamas to find out. We must rely on the honesty of the commissioners when they are appointed.”

If indeed rules have been violated by Kroes, the European Commission may go to the European Court. Once previously a Commissioner who violated the rules has been convicted. The Frenchwoman Edith Cresson appointed her dentist as her assistant. The Court convicted her, but imposed no penalty. …

The European Ombudsman says that the rules for Commissioners should be tightened, but the European Commission does not agree with that. …

“We had first former president Barroso who moved to the Goldman Sachs bank and now Neelie Kroes. The European Commission will have to make the Code and compliance with it stricter. It should be clear that the business corporations do not write the laws,” said [Paul] Tang.

Paul Tang is a member of the European Parliament for the Dutch PvdA. Officially, the PvdA is a ‘Labour’ party, but strongly infected by Blairism. While Mr Tang’s fellow PvdA politician Jeroen Dijsselbloem is Dutch Minister of Finance, it has turned out that Big Banking in the Netherlands largely makes the rules on banking; and that Shell and Exxon largely make the rules on oil and gas production and the homes and monuments destroying earthquakes which may be its consequences.

[Dutch political party] GroenLinks

Officially environmentalist and leftist. However, infected by neoliberal and ‘humanitarian war’ ideology to support the civilians destroying and environment destroying neocolonial war in Afghanistan.

will first wait for the investigation that the European Commission will launch now. “If Ms. Kroes has violated the rules then there are sufficient sanctions in these rules”, said a spokesperson. “People can be fined, her pension can be stopped and when she will visit the European Parliament, she might be made to do so as an ordinary citizen, with the [security] controls which that implies.”

This GroenLinks spokesperson may be over-optimistic. The precedent is Commissioner Edith Cresson. Though convicted, Ms Cresson did not get any of the three punishments mentioned by GroenLinks.

And how about a jail term for Ms Kroes’ violations of the rules? If Ms Kroes would have been a poor woman, breaking unemployment benefit rules with far less money involved than in Commissioner Kroes’ case now, then right-wing politicians, including Blairites like Valls in France and Dijsselbloem in the Netherlands, might scream all over the corporate media about jailing poor Ms Kroes. However, now that she is not poor Ms Kroes but rich Ms Kroes, you don’t hear anyone in the media advocating jail for wealthy ex-European Commissioners. Are they ‘too big to jail‘, like fraudulent bankers, or polluting British Petroleum fat cats?

Let us suppose that Ms Kroes will get the three penalties named by GroenLinks. Will she get a fine? How sure can we be that it will not be just a slap on the wrist, like in other cases where rich people are involved?

Will her pension stop? Then she will still have her Über and and Bank of America boss jobs and lots of other sources of income.

If she would like to visit the European Parliament, will Ms Kroes then have to subject herself to the same, sometimes considered humiliating, ‘security’ controls to which 99% of parliament visitors are subjected? She may not like that her privileged 1% treatment at the parliament entrance may be finished; but would it be such a big deal?

The Dutch Socialist Party‘s spokesman, MEP Dennis de Jong, is upset that Kroes has played down this affair so lightly. “A commissioner must record what she or he does. This case shows once again that the system is not working”, the SP leader in the European Parliament said.

EU ethics committee ‘should move fast’ on Barroso’s Goldman Sachs job: here.

25 thoughts on “European Union bigwig Neelie Kroes’ Bahamas money scandal

  1. Thursday 22nd September 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    Steven Walker charts a crime wave of extraordinary proportions that gets little or no attention

    IT COMES to something when the governor of the Bank of England announced recently that corrupt bankers represent a threat not only to those ordinary people they directly rip off, but also potentially the entire global capitalist system.
    He is on record as warning that the illegal and fraudulent activities by the major banks in recent years was undermining trust in both financial institutions and the markets.
    What he really meant was that everyday practice that had been tolerated, colluded with and carefully hidden from public scrutiny, had now been exposed in the context of the latest capitalist crisis in order that a few scapegoats could be sacrificed and token fines levied.
    In recent years major banks around the world have been forced to pay billions of dollars in regulatory fines and compensation for a wide range of offences from rigging interest rates and mis-selling financial products to households to ripping off corporate clients. Very few bank executives or senior managers who oversaw these practices have faced justice.
    In July a judge at Southwark Crown Court jailed four former Barclays bankers for conspiring to rig Libor. And the former UBS and Citigroup trader Tom Hayes is serving an 11-year sentence for conspiring to manipulate interest rates. These are the scapegoats — small fry compared to politically well connected bosses earning tens of millions of pounds per year.
    The fines which grab tabloid headlines and the amounts of money involved in fraud are mind-boggling and hard for ordinary working people to comprehend. For example banks were fined in the region of $22 billion (£14.5bn) for their part in the Libor fixing scandal in 2013. The London interbank lending rate, Libor, supports trillions of pounds’ worth of loans. In 2012, British banks were accused of inflating and deflating Libor to encourage a profit from trades. Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond resigned without penalty after his bank was fined £290 million for its part in the Libor scandal.
    The biggest banking scandal in terms of the number of people affected was the mis-selling of financial products. Since the 1990s, millions of customers were mis-sold insurance policies which they did not need, to pay off loans or mortgages should they die, become ill or lose their job.
    Banks alone are thought to have paid out around £22bn in compensation. As of January 2015, the financial ombudsman had dealt with 1,250,000 complaints — not including complaints made directly to banks and credit card companies.
    In 2012, British bank Standard Chartered paid a $340m fine with the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) after being accused of hiding $250bn of transactions with Iran. The bank was accused of leaving the US financial system susceptible to terrorists and “drug kingpins.” Two years later, Standard Chartered agreed to pay $300m to DFS after failing to improve its money laundering controls.
    Barclays, RBS, HSBC and Lloyds were forced to compensate thousands of small businesses who were mis-sold complex insurance deals. These rate-swap products were designed to protect firms against rising interest rates.
    But in 2013, the Financial Standards Authority said that it found 90 per cent of cases it examined did not comply with regulatory requirements. Barclays set aside £450m for compensation. HSBC, RBS and Lloyds also incurred costs.
    In 2014, US and UK regulators imposed a £2.6bn fine on five banks for conspiring to manipulate foreign exchange rates. Investigators found there was a “free for all culture” rife on the trading floors of RBS, HSBC, Citibank, JP Morgan and UBS. HSBC was fined £216m, the biggest fine of all British banks.
    An “elephant deal” executed three years ago has cost Barclays £72m in penalties after the City regulator concluded that the bank ran the risk of being used to launder money or finance terrorism. It was the largest deal of its kind that Barclays’s wealth management operation had executed, and the names of the clients — so-called politically exposed persons (PEPs) — were so sensitive they were kept confidential, even inside the bank. Barclays stood to make a £50m profit on handling the cash.
    The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found that instead of conducting a thorough check on the clients, Barclays relaxed its assessments, breaching its own controls. As a result, the fine is the largest imposed for financial crime failings. It is the seventh penalty imposed on Barclays since 2009, bringing its penalty bill from the FCA and its predecessor, the Financial Services Authority, to nearly £500m.
    Britain’s biggest four banks have racked up almost £50bn in charges to cover fines and lawsuits since the 2008 financial crisis. The extraordinary bill for wrongdoing has spiralled as Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Barclays have announced they have set aside more money to pay for past sins.
    HSBC recently became the latest lender to make a huge provision. Europe’s biggest bank revealed it had put aside more than £900m in the first half of the year — including a fresh £500m provision to settle big fines in the US for rigging foreign exchange markets.
    The total set aside for wrongdoing by the big four banks in the first half of 2015 was £5.6bn. And that came on top of a report by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s which found the “Big Four” had racked up fines and charges of £42bn by the end of 2014.
    While these numbers sound huge and almost beyond imagination they are in reality token amounts and very small compared to the profits made by these gigantic financial institutions. Since 2008 the banks have collectively made over £200bn profit and have asset values of more than £100 trillion.
    Since the 1970s British banks in particular have undertaken mergers and takeovers resulting in a reduction in the number and diversity of banks. Foreign acquisitions and the de-regulation of financial markets in the 1980s have enabled them to become bloated, gigantic corporations and far too big to control internally or externally. Ensconced in luxury headquarters in the slick city of London they live in a different world, far removed from ordinary life.
    Trading teams are encouraged to break the rules in order to make profit, resulting in some spectacular failures and huge losses as more and more risks are taken in the pursuit of profit.
    As capitalism continues to stagger from crisis to crisis it is a fair bet that in the next few years more banking scandals will emerge and multi-billionaire individuals and companies will continue to dodge taxes. The cesspit at the beating heart of casino capitalism is the City of London and its banks. It is more important than ever to expose it.,-banks-are-just-organised-crime#.V-VdQcmXEdU


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