ABN Amro Chairman Apologizes For Investment In Tax Haven Revealed By Pandora Papers
ABN Amro admits that it is “against the grain” that the chairman of the supervisory board Tom de Swaan invests privately through a tax haven. The bank stresses that financial construction “is not in conflict with the law” but regrets that ABN Amro is now associated with tax havens via the chairman of the supervisory board. De Swaan will sell the investment with immediate effect and apologized on Monday in an email to his colleagues at the bank for underestimating the consequences of the tax construction.
Research by hundreds of international journalists has shown that many politicians and CFOs around the world are investing privately through “smart” constructions in tax havens to avoid taxes in their own countries. Although private investments are legally permitted, they run counter to the ambition of the banks and the Dutch government, among others, to contain this kind of “smart” financial constructs via tax havens.
De Swaan explained in his published email that he “invested in the company of a friend, former ABN colleague Amro Jeroen Hardewijk, out of sincere intentions” and has always declared his investments to the tax authorities. He also wrote that “investing is not for tax evasion or worse”. According to a spokesperson for ABN Amro, there is “nothing wrong with technology” with private investment. But the management of the company, which concerns the Asilia safari park project in East Africa, “could have opted for a foundation in the Netherlands when it was created” instead of a letterbox in the islands. British virgins.
De Swaan immediately distanced himself from the investment and said he would “offer it to the founders of Asilia so that it is once again clear what the intention of this investment was.” According to ABN spokesman Amro, it is not yet possible for the bank to impose new rules on employees and directors in private investments. “If that were to happen, it would apply to the entire industry.” The spokesperson expects this is not yet over.
Until he was appointed Minister in October 2018, Acting Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra was also co-owner of the letterbox company. The Pandora Papers also mention Maarten Muller, supervisory director of Van Lanschot Kempen, and Alexandra Schaapveld, supervisory director of French bank Société Générale, as linked to Asilia. Van Lanschot Kempen has announced that Muller is also giving up his interest in Asilia.