Greens: Scotland needs powers to crackdown on dirty money

The UK's extensive involvement in the 'Pandora Papers' tax avoidance scandal shows the need for Scotland to have the full taxation powers which come with independence, according to the Scottish Greens.

The call follows the publication of the ‘Pandora Papers’, the biggest ever leak of offshore data. The release has been coordinated by a team of 600 reporters around the world.

The papers underline the central role of the UK, its overseas territories and the City of London in particular, in “dirty money” and the offshore world.

Among those named in the papers is Lubov Chernukhin who donated £20,000 to the Conservative party for the chance to have lunch with then-leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson.

Much of the £2.1m Chernukhin has donated to the Tories since 2012 appears to have come from the business structures of her husband, a former Russian finance minister under Vladimir Putin.

Commenting, the Scottish Greens Finance spokesperson, Ross Greer MSP, said: “The revelations are shocking, but they are not surprising. For far too long the UK has been at the heart of international dirty money and the tax avoidance industry.

“This is not an accident. The system is doing exactly what it was designed to do, which is to enrich the wealthy and powerful at the expense of the rest of us, robbing our public services of the funding they so desperately need.

“The Tories have shown time and again that they have no interest in fixing the system, and why would they for as long as the money keeps flowing into their party coffers?

“Last year the Scottish Greens secured a ban on Covid bailouts for tax avoiders, but if we are to go further then we need the powers to do so, the powers of a normal, independent nation. If we are to build back a fairer, greener and more equal Scotland, then we must break from a system which puts tax avoidance and the wealth of the super-rich ahead of the wellbeing of our citizens. Only with independence can Scotland secure such a recovery.”