No government help for firms based in tax havens, warns France's finance minister

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No government help for firms based in tax havens, warns France's finance minister
Photo: AFP

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday that firms headquartered in tax havens, or which have subsidiaries taking advantage of low-tax regimes, would be barred from receiving any government aid to help weather the coronavirus crisis.


"It goes without saying that if a company has its fiscal headquarters or any subsidiaries in a tax haven, and I insist strongly on this point, it will not be able to benefit from the state aid," Le Maire told France Info radio.

France has promised a torrent of cash and financial relief to thousands of companies facing collapse during the nationwide shutdown of all but essential activities in a bid to stem the COVID-19 outbreak.

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But labour unions have warned that some executives could try to pocket the funds instead of using them to ensure employees keep their jobs.

Le Maire has already said that companies who buy back their own shares or pay dividends during the crisis will not have access to any government help.

"There are rules that must be respected. If you want state aid, you cannot pay dividends and you cannot buy your own stock," he said Thursday.

"And if your headquarters is in a tax haven, obviously you cannot benefit from any public support," he said.

Governments across Europe have complained for years that they lose out on billions of euros in corporate taxes from companies exploiting rules that let them set up headquarters in low-tax regimes worldwide.



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