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Finnvera strengthens its anti-bribery and tax haven policy

Finnvera enhances policies supporting responsibility of its financing operations. The anti-bribery policy is intensified by adding screenings of the parties of a financing project to the credit application processing. In addition, Finnvera introduces a new policy identifying and recognising tax havens and associated tax evasion risks.

Finnvera applies the OECD Recommendation on Bribery and Officially Supported Export Credits in its export finance operations. In the current year, OECD has revised its recommendation by increasing the export credit agencies’ obligation to identify bribery risks connected to the parties of a financing project. Based on the recommendation, Finnvera also introduces the screening of parties in the processing of applications for export credit with the aim of identifying bribery risk.

”If it becomes clear in the screening that one of the parties involved in the credit application is on the international bribery debarment list, or has been convicted within a five-year period preceding the application, been under charge or formally under investigation for bribery, the party is required to give a clarification on the matter and corrective measures by which it strives to ensure that the company’s business is not engaged in bribery. Finnvera will assess whether the submitted clarification gives sufficient assurance that no bribery is involved in the project to be financed”, says Senior Compliance Officer Anne Haataja.

Tax haven policy identifies tax evasion and money laundering risks

As a company owned by the State of Finland, Finnvera is committed to responsibility in its financing operations. The restrictions of the EU funding concerning tax havens are already closely connected to Finnvera’s domestic financing, and Finnvera will introduce a policy concerning the clients’ tax haven connections in its entire financing operations.

Tax havens refers to countries which have low or non-existent taxation and strict bank secrecy, but no international agreements or legislation on transparent ownership. Tax havens can be exploited in tax evasion, and they also form a high risk of money laundering activities. Both the European Union and OECD strive to prevent the illegal use of tax havens and maintain a so-called black list of states non-cooperative in tax matters, which is continuously updated. The EU does not grant financing to a party located in a country that is on the black list.

"The purpose of Finnvera’s policy concerning tax havens is to identify a tax haven ownership as set out in the EU or OECD black list relating to Finnvera’s client company or a foreign trade partner in export credit as well as the tax evasion and money laundering risk resulted from it. In the first step, we require that a client company confirms that it appropriately complies with tax obligations and that it delivers its tax policy to Finnvera or signs an undertaking concerning taxation. The aim of the policy is also for its part to increase our client’s understanding of tax evasion and money laundering risks relating to tax havens”, Anne Haataja says.

The policies were confirmed by Finnvera’s Board of Directors on 25 November 2019, and they will come into effect as of 1 January 2020.

More information:

Anne Haataja, Senior Compliance Officer, Finnvera, tel. +358 29 460 2852