The Strategist

Denmark to buy part of Panama Papers

09/09/2016 - 15:18

Tax Minister of Denmark Karsten Lauritzen said that his country will buy a part of Panama Papers containing information on those Danes, who used the offshore to hide their profits from taxation. According to Danish media, the country will pay 1 million to 9 million kroner ($ 150 thousand -. $ 1.4 million) to obtain information on 500-600 citizens of Denmark.

According to Tax Minister of Denmark Karsten Lauritzen, an anonymous source proposed them to buy evidence on Danish citizens in the summer. The anonym said that the suspects had relations with offshore companies and, presumably, hid their assets from income taxes. The communication took place through cryptographic-protected channels. The offered data was obtained as a result of leakage from Mossack Fonseca law firm, but it is unknown whether there was the same anonymous person who gave away 12.7 million Panama Papers in April of this year. "We owe it to all Danish citizens, who pay taxes, - said Mr. L Lauritzen. We should take all necessary measures in order to identify tax evaders, who hides his wealth, for example, in Panama. So we decided that it would be wise to buy the offered information". The Minister admitted that the situation may have various problems "related to purchase of information that was obtained as a result of leakage", so they need to "be careful". In order to convince the government of Denmark in authenticity of the proposed data, the anonymous a mailed free sample of what he is willing to provide. The Minister noted that "apparently, the offered information is substantial." 

Tax Committee of the Danish Parliament has already supported the proposal to buy the information. As noted by The New York Times, citing informed sources, the deal will be held this month. Mr. Lauritzen did not name any exact amount of the purchase. However, the Danish media have estimated that the sum could range from $ 150 thousand up to $ 1.4 million. Denmark will not be the first country to buy part of Panama papers, although it was the first who officially announced it. Prior to that in 2014, the German authorities have paid a little less than € 1 million for data from the previous data leakage from Mossack Fonseca. Germany used the information for investigations against presumable tax dodgers - customers of the country’s second-largest bank Commerzbank.

Decision of the Danish authorities caused an ambiguous reaction. Danish news agency Ritzau quoted Torben Bagge, a lawyer and a law professor at the University of Aarhus: "Denmark isn’t used to buy information", and the data may be false. In addition, he said, those who sell the data "probably obtained it illegally", and so the government, "one way or another, would be involved in illegal activities". Liberal Alliance party also came forth with harsh criticism of the government's plans". According to Joachim Olsen, a representative of the party, the move could provoke abduction of personal information for purpose of subsequent sale of it to Danish authorities. A member of the Danish Parliament from the Danish People's Party told Politiken newspaper that although he is looking at the deal with skepticism, yet "we can compromise its principles in this particular case". According to him, the country is losing billions in uncollected taxes. "This is an ideal opportunity to show that we really punish those who cheat", - he said.