The two biggest political parties in Denmark’s parliament are considering drastic restrictions to rein in banks who are breaking the law, with compulsory insurance policies on the table.
Speaking to Bloomberg
, the head of Denmark Parliament’s finance committee and a leading lawmaker in the country’s Social Democrat party, Benny Engelbrecht, said the content of the Panama papers has made the government look at harsher punishments for banks that break the law.
Denmark is already preparing stricter penalties for tax evaders, including laws that can force banks to hand over lists of clients with connections to Denmark and what it defines as ‘tax havens’, such as Singapore and Panama.
“We’re also contemplating making it mandatory for banks to be insured against fines and losses from being convicted in aiding tax evasion,” Engelbrecht said. “Insurance companies have proven themselves a very effective force for policing inappropriate behaviour in other areas as they aim to avoid losses and would likely be a more effective supervisor than authorities can be.”
His comments come after reports emerged that the Russian unit of Nordea Bank AB created shell companies which can be used to evade paying taxes. In a statement, Nordea said should its internal investigation find it hasn’t complied with the rules, it will report to the relevant authorities.
Nordea has been on the receiving end of some harsh criticisms following the allegations. Brian Mikkelsen, tax spokesman for Denmark’s Conservatives, accused the bank of ‘daylight robbery’ in an interview with TV2.