Irish companies linked to further Luxembourg tax disclosures

Politicians concerned over EU member state’s dealings with multinationals

Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, held a press conference to defend the country’s tax practices. Photograph: Nicolas Bouvy/EPA

Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, held a press conference to defend the country’s tax practices. Photograph: Nicolas Bouvy/EPA

 

New disclosures about Luxembourg tax agreements involving billions of euro by companies with operations in Ireland are published today as politicians across Europe expressed concern about the EU member-state’s dealings with multinationals. The agreements include ones negotiated by global funds that invested in TV3 and the company that owns Daft.ie, as well as a Canadian energy company with a stake in the Corrib gas project. Agreements involving pharmaceutical groups Shire and Covidien are also reported.

The German economics minister Sigmar Gabriel called on the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, to prioritise the fight against tax avoidance.

Prime minister

However, other politicians pointed out that it was while Mr Juncker was finance minister, and then prime minister of Luxembourg, that it developed the practices now causing controversy. As EU finance ministers gathered in Brussels, Mr Juncker did not answer questions and cancelled a scheduled public appearance. A European Commission spokesman said Mr Juncker was “serene” about the revelations.

Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, held a press conference to defend the country’s tax practices. “I want to underline that these [tax] rulings conform to international laws,” he said.

Yesterday The Irish Times published reports based on leaked documents made available by the Washington DC based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

*In two articles which appeared on our website on November 7th, we stated that a New York venture capital fund which had negotiated Luxembourg tax agreements has a 25 per cent shareholding in the company which operates TheJournal.ie website. This is incorrect. The company which publishes TheJournal.ie informs us that it is not backed by any venture capital fund. The online articles have been amended.