Belgium has recovered 16 million dollars since “Panama Papers”, the revelations resulting in 2016 from an investigation on offshore companies by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Le Soir, Knack and De Tijd reported on Wednesday. The amount is less than then Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt (N-VA) had expected at the time, the three Belgian newspapers, which took part in the investigation, recalled.
From the 11.5 million tax-related documents analysed by the Mossack Fonseca office in April 2016, the journalists had identified 732 Belgians who had used offshore companies in Panama or elsewhere. Three years later, the ICIJ has taken a look at the amounts collected by tax administrations thanks to the Panama Papers investigation.
In Belgium, “we collected 16,153,304.57 euros,” said Frank Philipsen, head of the country’s Inspection spéciale des impôts (ISI - Special Tax Inspection office). However, 64 affairs are still being processed.
The amount is way below the target set by Van Overtveldt in July 2016, when he said the State hoped to collect 65 million euros as a result of the revelations.
The ICIJ has calculated that a total of over 1.2 billion dollars (over 1 million euros) has already been collected by countries worldwide since the scandal. In the United Kingdom, the sum of 224 million has been recovered, in Spain the tally is 140 million dollars, while France has netted 121 million dollars.
The Panama Papers prove that good investigative journalism can call the most powerful people in the world to account, ICIJ Director Gerard Ryle commented.
Subsequent fiscal investigations such as Offshore Leaks, SwissLeaks, LuxLeaks and Paradise Papers have enabled Belgium to recover at least 634.9 million euros.
This amount reflects the extra taxes collected by the Treasury from the fraudsters, including penalties. SwissLeaks brought in the largest amount, 493 million euros, followed by LuxLeaks, which contributed over 22 million euros to the fisc.
The Brussels Times