Three Quarters Want Government to Buy Tax Evader Data Skip to content

Three Quarters Want Government to Buy Tax Evader Data

Seventy-five percent of Icelanders want the Icelandic Directorate of Tax Investigations to purchase the data documenting tax evasion by individuals with links to Iceland offered by a whistleblower, according to a new poll by MMR published yesterday.

The poll also found that younger people were less likely than older people to support the purchasing of the data. Supporters of the Minister of Finance’s Independence Party were also less in favor of the purchasing of the data than supporters of the other parties.

As reported, the informer is asking ISK 150 million (USD 1.1 million, EUR 1 million). A massive leak of data from HSBC reportedly shows that the bank assisted clients around the world evade tax.

The Directorate of Tax Investigations has requested support from the government in the purchase of the data. Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson initially said that the ministry would not pay for the purchase “with suitcases of cash.” He added that the Directorate of Tax Investigations had originally said that the information was available for a fee proportional to the collected tax from these accounts. He argues that the directorate has since announced new conditions for the deal.

However, on the ministry’s website, it is stated that the ministry is prepared to pay for the purchase if the information proves useful in investigations of tax evasion but that the purchase decision lies with the directorate.

One of the six individuals in question has an Icelandic passport while the others have links to the country.

The account information of thousands of HSBC clients was initially leaked to the French government in 2007. It has been described as the biggest banking leak in history, The Guardian reports.

In 2014 the documents were obtained by French newspaper Le Monde, who launched an investigation in collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and more than 50 other media outlets around the world, Newsweek reports.

The bank has acknowledged it is accountable for past compliance and control failures and said it is “co-operating with relevant authorities.”

The poll was conducted February 13 to 19. A total of 975 people 18 years and older participated.

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