Nijboer, who in 2017 chaired the parliamentary interrogation committee that investigated tax structures after the start of the Panama Papers, speaks of ‘major damage to the reputation of the Netherlands and the Minister of Finance’. “An offshore construction via the Virgin Islands of the name of the Netherlands as a tax haven and harms the Dutch position in Europe and the world.”
Hoekstra’s interests surfaced in a major international investigation into tax havens, the Pandora Papers. It stores nearly 12 million leaked emails, registration forms and documents, originating from 14 financial documents from places like the British and Virgin Islands, Panama and the Seych. The data was shared by the international journalist collective ICIJ with more than 600 journalists from 115 countries.
Klaver: ‘Extremely disturbing’
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver also wants Hoekstra to come and explain next week. “It is absolutely disturbing news that the name of our Minister of Finance is in these leaked documents about letterbox companies,” Klaver said. “The bottom stone has to be up. He still has to account for a week in the House of Representatives.”
SP leader doubts Hoekstra’s notoriety in the fight against tax avoidance, now that he himself was active in the British Virgin Islands. “It is of course no surprise that the elite operate like this. But that the finance minister can thus lead to allow this minister to emerge in tackling tax avoidance.”
Marijnissen points out that the minister decides on the level of taxes and other rules for companies. “Then it is important that it is also clear that you have interests in those companies.”
From 2009 until shortly before he took office as finance minister in October 2017, Hoekstra was a shareholder in a company in the British Virgin Islands, which has again been invested in a safari company in Kenya and Tanzania. Hoek invested together with a number of bankers, including chairman of the board Tom de Swaan ABN Amro, which was acquired by Hoek himself in July 2018.
Wilders: ‘This stinks from all sides’
Before taking office as minister, Hoekstra was a member of the Senate for the CDA, but he did not mention his importance. This is not mandatory, but PvdA MP Nijboer believes that he should have done so. “Seriously, Hoekstra did not report his interests as a member of the Senate, nor to the House of Representatives when he became a minister. That would also have prevented the appointment of De Swaan as chairman of the Supervisory Board at ABN from being cast in a murky light.”
According to PVV leader Geert Wilders ‘this stinks from all sides’. Hoekstra was on a Senate committee on tax evasion but kept silent about owning a letterbox company in the Virgin Islands. Rutte knew about when Hoekstra became minister but was silent about the House of Representatives, just like Hoekstra himself.”
Outgoing minister Hoekstra also signed on Twitter:
I have not been involved in any way with the business of operations. I sold these shares before I became a minister. I have always included this investment in my tax return. 2/6
— Wopke Hoekstra (@WBHoekstra) October 3, 2021
This is how Wopke Hoekstra’s money came to the Virgin Islands
Wopke Hoekstra invested in the company of an old acquaintance who offered safaris in Africa. That is a noble goal for the CDA member. But he ended up in the world of letterbox companies in tax havens.