EU foreign ministers to discuss Panama Papers

Mossack_Panama Papers [Foto: Karl-Josef Hildenbrand /dpa]

EXCLUSIVE/EU foreign ministers meeting are expected to discuss the fallout from the Panama Papers at their meeting next week, it emerged today (15 April) – even though the topic is not on the formal agenda.

The 28-ministers will discuss the ongoing situation in Libya, the threat from Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the ongoing migration crisis.

But an EU diplomat revealed to that during the two-day meeting the discussion of the situation in Ukraine would take in the revelations from the world’s biggest leak tax-avoidance measures.

The so-called Panama Papers, relating to clients of Mossack Fonseca, revealed that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, was the beneficiary of a secret offshore company set up in the British Virgin Islands.

Poroshenko defends record after Panama leaks

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko defended his commitment to transparency yesterday (4 April) after lawmakers called for an investigation into allegations contained in the so-called Panama Papers that he had used an offshore firm to avoid tax.

Poroshenko is seen as an ally of the EU and the West, following the fleeing of former president Viktor Yanukovych to Russia in the wake of street protests, and Russia annexation of the Crimea and fomenting unrest in the east of the country.

The Panama Papers leak revealed that Poroshenko, a self-made chocolate tycoon, registered a company called Prime Asset Partners under his own name, shortly after being elected president in 2014.




On the agenda for next week’s monthly meeting of EU foreign ministers, being held in Luxembourg, is due to discuss the bloc’s ‘Eastern Partnership’ with Ukraine, Georgia and Modova, in particular “the strengthening of institutions and good governance”.

Asked if that meant the revelations about Poroshenko would be discussed, the diplomat smiled and said, “There’s a good chance they will.”

“It is distinctly possible,” he added.

“What’s going on in Ukraine at the moment…it’s very good that we’ve got a new prime minister. That’s an important moment.

“As well as having a new bunch of people, it’s also important that they have policies and commitments that they’re prepared to make.

“And the European Union is absolutely four-square behind Ukraine, and President Poroshenko in the difficulties they’ve been having with Russia.”

“Part of our pressure for reform in Ukraine is always to make it more secure and sustainable.”

Technocrats gone in new Ukrainian cabinet

Ukraine’s parliament approved presidential ally Volodymyr Groysman as prime minister yesterday (14 April) in the biggest political shakeup since a 2014 uprising brought in a pro-Western leadership.

Poroshenko, who according to Bloomberg is worth around $720 million has denied any wrong-doing.

After the revelations, he tweeted, “I believe I might be the first top official in Ukraine who treats declaring of assets, paying taxes, conflict of interest issues seriously.

“Having become a President, I’m not participating in management of my assets, having delegated this responsibility to consulting & law firms.”

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