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Fighting corruption – General principles of political responsibility

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 14639 | 09 October 2018

Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Each country itself regulates the possibility of participation of politicians in certain spheres of business activities and in business in general. The Parliamentary Assembly does not aim to have any influence on the domestic laws of the member States on this issue.

However, materials of “Paradise Papers” and “Panama Papers” show that politicians in many countries, including member States of the Assembly, used offshore schemes for so-called tax optimisation and in some cases for tax evasion. It is precisely those cases where such schemes involve, in particular, top-level politicians as elements of expanded corruption. This phenomenon extremely reduces trust in State institutions and democratic procedures. The abuse by politicians of their rights and official capacities for the purpose of personal enrichment (including by means of evasion from taxes) represents an important form of corruption.

A policy is an area that should be exemplary. An important point is the awareness of inevitability of punishment. If a politician is a participant in such corrupted schemes, he should bear direct and immediate responsibility, including a political one (like, for example, the Prime Minister of Icеland and the Minister of industry, energy and tourism of Spain, who resigned in connection with the offshore scandals).

The Assembly, seeking to restore its credibility, has undertaken to establish an environment of zero tolerance of corruption and of any practice which may leave any doubt as to a possible conflict of interests; it is up to its members to ensure that this is achieved, without compromise (Resolution 2216 (2018)).

The Assembly should analyse previous experiences, risks and problems, especially against the background of corruption scandals that took place in international political institutions, including itself, and to develop general recommendations on the political responsibility of politicians of the member States for participating in corruption offshore schemes.