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Fighting corruption and political responsibility

The “Panama papers”, “Paradise papers”, “Laundromats”, and “Pandora papers” scandals have involved allegations that politicians used offshore schemes to evade taxes and conceal assets, raising suspicions of corruption and money laundering.

Adopting a draft resolution based on the report prepared by Sergiy Vlasenko (Ukraine, EPP/CD), the Committee on Legal Affairs considered that fighting corruption, money laundering and tax-related offences is an obligation for all member States of the Council of Europe. Any suspicion against a politician of being involved in such offences “requires a prompt response from the criminal justice system”. According to the Committee, political responsibility should be also engaged in this context.

The adopted text states that political responsibility implies an ethical duty to bear the consequences for breaching public trust. Where the alleged misconduct and the allegations are sufficiently serious and credible, “politicians should resign from elected public office”, the draft resolution underlines. Parliaments, and governments must contribute to “preserving public trust in democratic institutions” when confronted with these allegations. They should, the text underlines, take appropriate action against politicians following these or similar scandals.