Monday, April 04, 2016

Norway Convenes "Corporate Corruption" Summit. Austria Investigates.

Well, it looks as though liberal democracy is still intact in Norway where the government wasted no time responding to the Panama Papers scandal by calling a corporate corruption summit. That's in stark contrast to the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" approach of Canadian governments, federal and provincial.

Guess what? Norway's DNB bank is apologizing for having done precisely the same thing as our Royal Bank did and later justified as supposedly "legal."

Norway's government invited the heads of top company boards to talks on corruption as offshore banking revelations added to a string of allegations over the ethics of some of the country's largest firms.

The invitation follows the leak of more than 11.5 million documents from the files of a Panama-based law firm, allegedly showing how clients avoided tax or laundered money.

Among the leaked material on hundreds of thousands of clients in multiple jurisdictions were revelations that top Norwegian bank DNB helped customers set up offshore companies in the Seychelles.

DNB, in which the state owns 34 percent, said it regretted assisting about 40 customers in setting up the firms between 2006 and 2010, and that the practice had ended.

"It's the customers' responsibility to report their own funds to tax authorities. Still, we believe we should not have contributed to establishing these companies," Chief Executive Rune Bjerke said.

"The structures could be abused for tax evasion."

No, say it ain't so, Joe. How was the Royal Bank of Canada supposed to know that? Then again, those Norse set up 40 shell companies. So there. The RBC only set up - what, more than 370 shell companies? Oh, nevermind. 

Trade and Industry Minister Monica Maeland said in a statement on Monday she had invited board leaders of 30 firms to the talks in June.

"There has recently been revealed several cases of corruption and ethical issues in the broader sense. As owner we have clear expectations to how the companies work with corporate responsibility," she said.

"I want a status (report) on how the companies work to prevent corruption and have therefore invited the chairmen of the companies under my ministry to a meeting."

Fortunately Canada doesn't have a corporate corruption problem, not like those shifty Norwegians. What's that, wrong again? Damn!

Meanwhile, Austrian authorities have responded to the Panama Papers scandal by launching investigations into two banks.

Austrian regulators are investigating whether two banks named in an international data leak followed procedures to prevent money laundering, one of the firms having attracted attention for its lending to a confectionery company owned by Ukraine's president.

The leaked "Panama Papers" cover a period over almost 40 years, from 1977 until last December, and allegedly show that some companies domiciled in tax havens were being used for suspected money laundering, arms and drug deals and tax evasion.


Dana said...

Iceland has already taken to the streets I see. Hard to imagine similar scenes taking place anywhere else given the relative responses to the banking scandals a few years ago.

The Mound of Sound said...

You're right, Dana. We've become a nation of sheeples. The conduct of our governments and unscrupulous commercial types suggests that's how they see us - non-threatening, irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Freaking socialists! Tax evasion creates jobs and grows the economy!

Anonymous said...

The one percent have etched their place in stone; where they can be challenged but NOT taken to task for what they do is now LEGAL.
To add to this fucking misery 'we' the sheeple accept these gazillionaires with grace and actually try and mimic them!
The public at large has accepted the fallacy that these wankers provide trickle down jobs for which we should be grateful.Tax evasion hs reached epic highs whilst at the other end of the scale we bitch and complain at the lack of Government services.
I despair the fate of humanity.


The Mound of Sound said...

Agreed, Trailblazer. Odd that we've heard nothing from Ottawa as yet. I'm sure that they've known this scandal was coming for months, probably before the election.

Delay is the sort of thing that will be interpreted as reluctance which suggests connivance. Yet the political caste has connived with the corporatist elite by not applying prohibitions, regulations and civil and criminal sanctions to deter this scheming. Instead they legalize it.

And, yes, they do it knowing "we the sheeple" will grumble a while but then do nothing.

the salamander said...

.. the #PanamaPapers shout there's systemic agreement & collusion at the highest levels of 'public service' & that the peak regions of 'public service' essentially utilize a nudge nudge wink wink secret handshake and sign here before entering the 'CLUB' ..

The 'CLUB' members, Directors, cabin boyz, Treasurer, Alumni .. ?

Uh.. the wealthy, their Law firms, Political Party apparatchiks, Military Arms creeps, the Super Wealthy, Bankers, Investment wanks, Media Owners, Ideological Doughboyz, more acolytes, wannabe's, Organized Crime, Evangelical Freakouts, SuperTwits, BigEnergy Owners n Cronies.. hordes of conniving lawyers without morals or borders.. and a vast underclass who would sell their grandmother for wealth & success..

Hunter s Thompson would ID the entire hive or haven or whorehouse in 20 words or less.. sorry I had to be so verbose.. and miss a ton of the Establishment Psychos who belong to the PanamaPapers cult.. and sorry about being so mean to the lawyers.. there's good men & women in Law.. yet hordes of astounding creeps.. Hell, Harper had thousands of government lawyers - plus 'outside' law firms and lawyers plus Arthur 'my last breath is for Harper' Hamilton ..

The Mound of Sound said...

We got a sniff of the collusion in the KPMG/Isle of Man scandal, Sal. CRA seemed to have plenty of investigators to hound environmental charities but little interest in pursuing big time tax dodgers which sounds like something that would have been to Harper's liking.

It's next to impossible that the Canadian Revenue Agency folks had no idea that the Panama Papers scandal was coming. The Economist and Vice News were writing about it back in 2014.

Makes me think back to the NDP in its glory years. Can you imagine a fiery David Lewis rising in the Commons to denounce the "corporate welfare bums"?

Toby said...

"Makes me think back to the NDP in its glory years. Can you imagine a fiery David Lewis rising in the Commons to denounce the "corporate welfare bums"?"

Good point, Mound. I haven't heard any politicos denounce the corporate welfare bums.