As published on newsbook.com.mt, Wednesday 15 July, 2020.
The government has recovered more than €27.6 million in unpaid taxes to date as a result of the Swiss Leaks and Panama Papers journalistic investigations lifting the lid on secretive offshore structures used for tax evasion purposes.
The figure was confirmed by Finance Minister Edward Scicluna in two related parliamentary questions by opposition MP Claudio Grech.
The Panama Papers investigation was launched after a whistleblower leaked data held by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
The leak revealed that then-minister Konrad Mizzi and the chief of staff of then-PM Joseph Muscat Keith Schembri had both opened secret Panamanian companies. The ultimate owner of a third company opened concurrently with theirs, by the name of Egrant, remains unidentified.
In spite of the revelation, neither Schembri nor Mizzi have ever been summoned by the police for questioning.
But tax authorities nevertheless investigated 237 Maltese taxpayers as a result of the Panama Papers leak, of which 163 have been concluded and 74 remain pending.
€14.23m in unpaid taxes have been recovered as a result.
In 2015, the Swiss Leaks investigation, triggered by information leaked by French computer analyst Hervé Falciani, unearthed a massive tax evasion scheme through HSBC accounts held in Geneva.
Most notably, the investigation unearthed secret bank accounts held by two former Nationalist ministers, Michael Falzon and Ninu Zammit.
Scicluna revealed that 96 taxpayers were investigated as a result of Swiss Leaks, with 94 cases concluded so far and two still pending. These cases have led to the recovery of €13.42 million in unpaid taxes.