MEPs reserved specific condemnation for former Maltese minister and European Commissioner John Dalli and other European politicians as the European Parliament on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling for thorough investigations into any wrongdoing exposed by the Pandora Papers.

The papers, leaked earlier this month, showed that Dalli owned an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands which he never disclosed in his obligatory asset filings.  

Adopting a resolution by 578 votes in favour, 28 against and 79 abstentions, MEPs called on the EU to close loopholes that allow for tax avoidance, money laundering and tax evasion on a massive scale.

They also called for legal action to be taken by the Commission against EU countries that do not properly enforce existing laws. They reserved particular criticism for present and former prime ministers and ministers of EU member states whose activities were revealed by the Pandora Papers.

The resolution follows on from the indignation expressed by MEPs at an October plenary debate held two days after the publication of the first findings of the Pandora Papers.

The resolution adopted on Thursday urges national EU authorities to launch thorough investigations of any wrongdoing revealed in the Pandora Papers involving their jurisdictions, including audits on all individuals mentioned.

The European Commission was asked by MEPs to review the revelations to analyse whether further legislation should be proposed and establish if legal action against some member states is warranted. According to MEPs, the European Public Prosecutor should also assess whether the revelations merit any specific investigations.

The European Parliament said in a statement that MEPs reserved specific condemnation for EU and former EU politicians Andrej Babiš, Czechia’s Prime Minister, Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus, Wopke Hoekstra, Dutch Minister of Finance, Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister, and John Dalli  – all of whom were mentioned in the Pandora papers. Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, and Milo Đukanović, the President of Montenegro, were also criticised directly in the resolution.

The parliament in its resolution urged member states and the Commission to do more regarding the identification and sharing of information on beneficial owners, those persons ultimately profiting from a shell company structure. MEPs also point out that numerous member states had delayed their implementation of existing rules intended to counteract money laundering and tax avoidance. These laggards should be pursued by the Commission, they insisted.

The Commission was also urged to issue proposals regulating golden citizenship and residency schemes and to assess the effectiveness of the identification of politically exposed persons and the application of enhanced due diligence. 

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