Around 60 cases against suspected tax evaders have been dropped by the district attorney’s office due to a break in case proceedings while waiting for a decision from the European Court of Human Rights. Kjarninn reported first.
Many of the dropped cases are against individuals who appeared in the Panama Papers and a large part of the cases have to do with individuals who stored funds in tax havens outside of Iceland. According to Fréttablaðið, many of the cases concern Icelandic fishermen who work abroad.
The first cases were dropped less than one month ago and more are expected to be dropped in the near future. There are more than 150 tax evasion cases currently being processed by the district attorney’s office which concern over ISK 30 billion (USD 290 million/EUR 245 million) in taxes.
According to Kjarninn, the taxes owed had already been re-evaluated for most of those under investigation, but the decision to drop the cases means the individuals whom the cases concern cannot be fined. The estimated tax evasion in the 60 dropped cases is around ISK 10 billion (USD 96.5 million/EUR 81.5 million). Fines can be up to ten times higher than the estimated tax evasion, representing an enormous potential loss for the Icelandic state.
Both the prosecutor and Icelandic courts were waiting on a conclusion in the case of Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson and Tryggvi Jónsson from the European Court of Human Rights, and for the Supreme Court of Iceland to interpret that conclusion. The decision of the Supreme Court, in addition to the delay, were such that the district attorney considered it necessary to drop the cases.