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    Belgians withdraw €18 billion from tax havens

    © Belga
    Van Overtveldt attributes the return of money from tax havens to the need to comply with individual tax havens’ laws and regulations.
    © Belga

    Belgians have withdrawn a combined total of €18 billion of financial wealth held within tax havens, during the course of the last four years. The findings emerge from a report by the Banque Nationale, and are echoed on Friday in Het Laatste Nieuws.

    In 2013, the Banque Nationale had calculated that €47 billion had been traced as being in tax havens outside of the EU. Now the daily publication says this total is some €29 billion.

    A reduction had been noted in half of the listed countries. The most significant decrease is in the Cayman Islands (a reduction of €26 billion), in Hong Kong (down by €4.5 billion) and in Jersey (reduced by €2 billion). Conversely, an increase was noted in the United Arab Emirates (up by €6.3 billion).

    The former Minister of Finance, Johan Van Overtveldt (of the New Flemish Alliance), states, “Increasingly those holding money abroad are learning that they have to comply with given rules.” He goes on, “Overall this consequence results from the Cayman tax, tax adjustment, and increased exchange of international data.”

    A viewpoint hotly contested by the opposition party, the Alternative Socialists, who underline that withholding tax brought in barely more in revenues than in 2014. It stresses in Het Laatste Nieuws,“Van Overtveldt can have no way of knowing for sure that €18 billion has been brought back to Belgium.”

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times