Hoekstra's pension accrual also happened via tax haven
In 2015, caretaker Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra made investments through Guernsey, a Channel Island known for its extremely low tax rates, as part of his pension accrual. Hoekstra revealed this during a parliamentary debate on Tuesday, NU.nl reports.
The debate focused on Hoekstra's name in the Pandora Papers, leaked documents revealing how celebrities and wealthy individuals invested in tax havens. Before he was appointed Minister in 2017, Hoekstra owned shares in a letterbox firm Asilia in the British Virgin Islands. He bought these shares in 2009 and sold them again in 2017.
The Minister said that his pension investment through Guernsey was part of what his employer at the time offered. He emphasized that 30 thousand former colleagues worldwide also used it. Partners at McKinsey are not allowed to invest in publicly traded companies themselves "precisely to avoid conflict of interest," Hoekstra said. He added that ordinary pension funds used similar practices as McKinsey. "You also came across all kinds of tax havens there." It shows how much the zeitgeist has changed over the past years, he said.
Hoekstra repeated in the debate that he did not realize his 2009 investment in Asilia was through a letterbox firm on the Virgin Islands. He stressed that he "fully adhered to the law in legal and fiscal terms." And he adhered to "all rules that apply and applied" to Ministers and Senators. He was a senator for the CDA between 2011 and 2017.
In response to criticism from the MPs, Hoekstra said that he "could without a doubt have known" that the investment was via a letterbox company in a tax haven. "But I overlooked that. I also do not know whether I would have recognized the sensitivity of it in 2009." There was less attention for tax avoidance at the time.