Experta Corporate and Trust Management, a tax consulting firm for individuals belonging to the Dexia group from 1996 to 2011, was the largest customer of Mossack Fonseca. This appears in the so-called Panama Papers released since Sunday by Le Soir, Knack De Tijd and MO * in Belgium. Experta had commissioned no fewer than 1,659 offshore companies via Mossack Fonseca, according to documents viewed by the four media.
Experta is based in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and is a subsidiary of the International Bank in Luxembourg (BIL). The bank belonged to the Dexia Group from 1996 to 2011 before being sold to a Qatari fund during the dismantling of the group that year.
Jean-Luc Dehaene, Jacques Rogge and François Narmon belonged to the board of directors of the bank when it was part of the Dexia group.
While the Dexia group faced bankruptcy in 2008, it was saved by 3 billion euros in public money. The tax optimization activities via offshore companies did not stop at that time. The management of the group based in Brussels was fully aware of the arrangements put in place by Experta via Mossack Fonseca.
In June 2013, Experta instructed Mossack Fonseca to dissolve all its Panamanian companies. According to the most recent document in the Panama Papers, only 63 companies were still active.
Dexia Bank Belgium and its successor Belfius have not proposed Experta products to their customers, according to the bank.
“It is inconceivable for a financial institution, which has been supported by taxpayers´ money, to become involved, actively or passively, in tax evasion on such a scale,” remarked on Saturday (9 April) the finance minister, responsible for the fight against tax fraud, Johan Van Overtveldt.
“An investigation must be initiated about these activities and those responsible,” added Van Overtveldt, who said he was “outraged”.
The Brussels Times (Source: Belga)