French President thanks tax fraud whistleblowers
Paris, 4 April 2016
This affair [the “Panama papers”] confirms that it’s possible to combat tax evasion, and all the information that is provided will give lead to investigations by the tax services and to judicial proceedings.
For several years we, France, have sought to be in the vanguard of international drives for greater transparency, less tax optimization and the fight against money laundering. We see that as we make progress and sign a number of agreements, there’s the possibility of knowing more about those things.
Even at legislative level, we want to show – it’s the purpose of a text which will come to Parliament very shortly – that France can also be in the lead on transparency and the fight against corruption, including when it comes to protecting whistleblowers. It’s thanks to a whistleblower that we now have this information. Those whistleblowers do useful work for the international community. They take risks, so they must be protected.
But what I can assure you is that as the information becomes known, every investigation will be conducted, every procedure will be carried out, and the trials may take place.
As you know, for several years we’ve been fighting this battle against tax evasion. For 2015 alone, those who had committed fraud were notified [of proceedings relating to] €20 billion so that equivalent sums could be recovered. Of that €20 billion, we’ve already taken back €12 billion. So, if I may say so, it’s good news that we’re aware of those revelations, because it will bring in more tax receipts from those who have committed fraud.
So I thank the whistleblowers. I thank the press, which has played an active role. And I have no doubt that our investigators are fully ready to look into these issues, these dossiers and these cases, first of all for the sake of what we consider to be morality and also for the sake of our public finances. Thank you.