fiscal evasion

BNP Parisbas against the Chair Reapers: who is really guilty?

The first trial of a Chair Reaper took place in Dax on Monday, January 9, 2017. More than 2,000 people and many supporters from associations, trade unions and politicians came from all over France to denounce the tax injustice. The State confirmed the legitimacy of the actions to requisition chairs by demanding the release of Jon Palais, while BNP Paribas asked for 1 € in damages and was conspicuous by its absence at the hearing. The verdict will be handed down on 23 January.
               
À At 1:20 p.m. on Monday, January 9, 2017, Jon Palais and his lawyers Eva Joly and Caroline Joly entered the Dax County Court to the cheers of a large crowd that had come to support the Chair Reapers. In a courtroom too small to accommodate the many personalities and journalists present, Jon Palais, tried for "stealing 14 chairs from a BNP Paribas branch in Paris in October 2015, assumed the actions of requisitioning chairs by exposing their legitimacy. His two witnesses, Vincent Drezet and Antoine Peillon, as well as his lawyers, intervened to denounce tax havens, a veritable black hole in the world economy, the role played by BNP Paribas and the legitimacy of civil disobedience.
 
BNP Paribas, the plaintiff, sought a symbolic 1 euro in damages and decided not to attend the hearing. This absence is tantamount to an admission of guilt by the bank, visibly overwhelmed by the extent of the citizen's mobilization. Eva Joly did not fail to point out that BNP Paribas declares a third of its profits in tax havens and has been involved in numerous scandals in recent years. The Court's interest in the arguments about the BNP Paribas' actions has turned the trial of Jon Palais into a trial of the bank. The hearing ended with the announcement of the deliberations on 23 January.
 
For the Chair Reapers, this mobilization day is an undisputed success. More than 2,000 people gathered as early as 1 p.m. in front of the court before strolling through the streets of Dax. Starting at 2 pm, trade union, association, artistic and political personalities came to remind people of the ecological, economic and social stakes in the fight against tax evasion, at national and international level, while gesticulated conferences and concerts brought a festive and educational dimension to the event.
 
 
In the morning, five candidates for the presidential election [1] were questioned on fraud and tax optimization during a round table discussion. [2]. They are committed to fighting tax evasion, a positive signal for the Reapers, who are calling on all presidential candidates to take a stand on this issue.
 
The Chair Reapers, awaiting the deliberation on 23 January, are now calling for a halt to the prosecution of their activists. It is not the Reapers or the whistleblowers who must be tried, but organized gang tax evasion, and the collective calls for the implementation of measures to put an end to tax evasion and impunity, and for the financing of the ecological and social transition.
 
The day ended with a call to mobilize during the #EndTaxHeaven Global Action Week against Tax Evasion, which will begin on April 3, 2017, the anniversary of the publication of the "Panama Papers", and on April 11 for the second trial of a Chair Reaper, Florent Compain, President of Friends of the Earth.
(Source: Attac France - Press release from Friends of the Earth, NVA COP21, Attac France, Bizi! and Solidaires Finances Publiques)
 
According to Reporterre, 60 to 80 billion euros are reportedly stolen illegally from France every year, according to an report by the trade union Solidaires finances publiques released in 2013. And if we consider the sums accumulated and stored in tax havens when they should be declared in France, we arrive at the figure of 600 billion euros, according to the work of the economist Gabriel Zucman. However, if all this money were taxed, 30 to 50 % would go into the state coffers, according to Antoine Peillon, a journalist at La Croix and a specialist on the subject.
Reporterre says:"Today we lack the resources to invest in ecological transition and public services, and at the same time we have a huge problem of concentration of wealth, says Thomas Coutrot, economist and member of Attac. Redistributing the money from tax evasion would meet these needs, and the simplest way to redistribute is to tackle tax evasion. "We don't even need a tax reform, just by applying the current rules we could achieve a significant redistribution of wealth," says Coutrot.
This would represent an additional EUR 20 to 40 billion in state coffers every year, and even EUR 200 to 300 billion at a stroke if the assets stored in tax havens were repatriated. Chair reapers know what to do with these sums: 40 billion euros would make it possible to renovate all households in fuel poverty, 35 billion euros to convert all agricultural plots to organic farming, while providing 100 % organic meals in primary and secondary school canteens and university restaurants would cost 1.4 billion per year, according to their figures. And each time, jobs would be created.
 

 1] The following candidates took part in the round-table discussion: Yannick Jadot (EELV), Sandrine Charnoz, for Benoît Hamon (PS), Pierre Larrouturou (Nouvelle Donne), Corinne Morel-Darleux for Jean-Luc Mélenchon (unsubscribed France), Philippe Poutou (NPA), Charlotte Marchandise (citizen candidate).
[2] https://faucheursdechaises.eu/les-revendications/
 
 

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