FNV complaint against oil company about tax avoidance
WILLEMSTAD, THE HAGUE - The Dutch Trade union FNV, together with the international trade union organizations ITF and PSI, is fighting against tax avoidance by American oil giant Chevron, owner of, among others, Texaco. On Tuesday, the trade unions jointly filed a complaint with the little-known National Contact Point of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in The Hague.
It is the first time that a complaint about tax avoidance has been filed there. According to Coen van der Veer, director of FNV, this case could open the way "to tackle more concerns for tax avoidance via the OECD guidelines".
The complaint from FNV and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and the international trade union Public Services International (PSI) state that Chevron avoids tax on a large scale through letterbox companies in the Netherlands. The American oil company, which has an annual turnover of more than 140 billion dollars (more than 121 billion euros), violates the international OECD guidelines for multinational companies on tax payments, according to the trade unions. According to FNV, Chevron "tries to do everything possible to obscure its tax practices as much as possible".
FNV has found a total of 34 letterbox companies in the Netherlands that can be linked to Chevron. These are subsidiaries, without personnel or office. Often these 'companies' are, according to FNV, affiliated with Curaçao International Trust Company, one of the largest trust offices in the world. The letterbox companies would be involved in activities in Nigeria, Argentina and Venezuela, among others. This violates the rules of the OECD by Chevron, says FNV.
The OECD is a partnership of 36 mainly prosperous countries that coordinate their social and economic policies and try to coordinate international policy. Each country has a National Contact Point (NPC). The complaint is filed with the Dutch contact point because the letterbox companies are located here and the tax is being circumvented in the Netherlands.
The NPC has no legal powers. However, it can bring parties to the table and help resolve disputes. They can also publicly deal with companies like Chevron.