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Dutch Banking Tax Study Flawed, Says ABN AMRO

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

04 September 2014

Dutch bank ABN AMRO has criticized a new report, The Fair Banking Guide, published by the Dutch BankWiser (EBW) after an investigation into international tax avoidance in the Dutch banking sector.

"ABN AMRO considers the report to be of such poor quality that it does not wish to react to its content or the conclusions drawn by EBW. The report is highly insinuating, as is the accompanying press release, which makes reference to banks being 'possibly involved in tax avoidance'," the bank said.

In response to the report, ABN AMRO requested that two law professors review the results of the investigation. Professor T. Bender, of Leiden University, said: "Our review focused on whether the approach taken in the investigation was suited to determine whether Dutch bank groups are involved in international tax avoidance. My conclusion is that the investigation had several fundamental flaws, as a result of which it could not validly and unequivocally determine whether these banks are involved in international tax avoidance."

Professor FPG Pötgens, of VU University Amsterdam, added: "I noted that some of the terms and parameters used by [the author] were poorly substantiated or, in some cases, lacked any definition at all. As a result, the investigation did not meet the level of accuracy and care required[…]."

Describing the report as a missed opportunity, the bank concluded: "ABN AMRO does not oppose the fact that banks are subject to review. On the contrary, a properly conducted review can help improve transparency and trust in the sector. Any such review, however, must be conducted with due care."

"Reviews conducted according to the approach taken by EBW serve solely to generate publicity for the non-government organizations (NGOs) involved and to underline their objectives, while needlessly damaging the reputations of the banks in question. Banks have long been advocating the need for better quality reviews."

TAGS: compliance | tax | offshore confidentiality | tax compliance | Netherlands | tax avoidance | law | banking | international financial centres (IFC) | enforcement | offshore | offshore banking | banking secrecy | Banking

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