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Carthy questions ECB on tax avoidance by vulture funds

6 June, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP


Sinn Féin MEP has today questioned the European Central Bank, requesting that it investigate tax avoidance by banks under its direct supervision who are acting as ‘vulture funds’ in the Irish state.

Speaking from Strasbourg, Carthy said: “Banks are increasingly selling off distressed mortgages to vulture funds at reduced prices, who have proven to pursue repossessions of homes even more aggressively, fuelling the housing and homelessness crisis.

“Last month Ulster Bank announced the sale of 900 family homes with distressed mortgages as part of a €2.5 billion property loan portfolio to vulture funds. This follows the purchase in March of 200 family homes by a Goldman Sachs vulture fund in Tyrellstown, Dublin."

Carthy continued: “What makes the situation even more appalling is the fact that many of these vulture funds are paying little to no tax to the Irish state and are clearly engaging in widespread tax avoidance.

“Between 2011 and April 2016, vulture funds in the Irish state purchased portfolios worth €62.9 billion. It has been reported that the largest purchasers were Goldman Sachs, Cerberus, Deutsche Bank, Lone Star, CarVal and Apollo.

“Reports indicate that in 2014 US vulture fund Lone Star’s Irish arm generated €1.24 billion but paid less than €1 million in tax. Cerberus’s 2014 accounts show it generated more than €140 million of revenue on its Irish assets, but paid less than €2,500 in tax. Goldman Sachs subsidiary Beltany’s 2014 accounts show that it generated income of €44 million – but paid an astonishing €250 in corporation tax.

“These vulture funds are making massive profits off the backs of Irish borrowers and Irish society, and the Irish government does not appear to be challenging in any way the tax avoidance practices that have allowed this situation to develop.

“Some of these funds are under the direct supervision of the ECB through the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), such as Deutsche Bank.

“I have asked the ECB today to investigate the extent of tax avoidance in the Irish state by vulture funds under the supervision of the SSM, and to investigate the relationship between the major vulture funds operating in the Irish state and the European banks under its supervision.” ENDS

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