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EU seeks to fill tax-avoidance gaps in wake of Panama leaks

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(Bloomberg) — The European Union, faced with mounting anti-establishment furor from populist parties across the region, is speeding up efforts to thwart tax dodging after the Panama Papers leaks and wants its blacklist of tax havens ready next year.

“The recent leaks exposed loopholes that still allow tax evaders to hide funds offshore,” European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said in a statement in Strasbourg, France on Tuesday. “Our measures to stamp out tax abuse must be intensified.”

Related: Panama leak spurs global zeal to crack shell companies

The European Commission, alongside governments, is screening a draft list of countries, with the aim of coming up with a final list in 2017, it said in the statement. The commission, the EU’s executive arm, is also proposing changes to the bloc’s anti-laundering rules to facilitate data share on the ultimate beneficiaries of offshore funds.

The commission unveiled a series of anti tax-avoidance measures in April, just weeks after the Panama leaks hit the media. The authority proposed Tuesday that existing and new offshore funds undergo stricter controls. It also plans to increase oversight on tax advisers and study ways to allow national authorities sharing information automatically on trusts and funds “with a potential tax impact,” according to the statement.

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