The European Union (EU) on Tuesday added Anguilla, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands to its blacklist of tax havens, but the NGO Oxfam immediately called the update “a whitewash.”
The list, approved by EU finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg, now counts 12 jurisdictions deemed non-cooperative for tax purposes, particularly where it comes to sharing tax information.
The EU blacklist already included nine other territories: American Samoa, Fiji, Guam, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, the US Virgin Islands and Vanuatu.
Oxfam, a British charity campaigning against global poverty, said that the EU's list was hypocritical because it failed to include EU countries that serve as hubs for companies and individuals seeking to shift profits.
“This is not a blacklist, it is a whitewash,” said Chiara Putaturo, Oxfam EU’s tax expert.
“Major tax havens in Europe like Malta and Luxembourg escape the list while countries outside Europe like Eswatini and Botswana risk being blacklisted,” she added.
The blacklist was first drawn up in 2017 in the wake of several scandals, including the Panama Papers and LuxLeaks, which pushed Brussels into doing more to fight tax evasion by multinationals and the rich.
EU member countries cannot be on the list and blacklisted countries face only limited sanctions, consisting of freezing them out of European aid or development funding.