Skip to Content

Former EU Antitrust Chief Is Named in Bahamas Tax Haven Leaks

TechCrunch Disrupt London 2014 - Day 1TechCrunch Disrupt London 2014 - Day 1
Neelie Kroes, the European Union's former commissioner for competition and for digital agenda Anthony Harvey Getty Images for TechCrunch

A new set of tax haven leaks has brought unwelcome attention to Neelie Kroes, the European Commission’s former antitrust chief between 2004 and 2010 and, after that, its digital commissioner for four years.

Unlike the more detailed Panama Papers leaks, the leaks from the Bahamas only cover companies’ names, dates of creation, addresses and, in some cases, directors.

However, that’s enough for a storm to have erupted over the naming of Kroes as a director of a Bahamian company, originally set up to buy assets from Enron, between 2000 and 2009. The Dutch politician never declared this offshore directorship to the European Commission.

Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.

According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which revealed the information along with Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, Kroes’s lawyer said she “did not declare her directorship of the company because it was never operational,” and her appearance in the records was a “clerical oversight which was not corrected until 2009.”

Kroes denied she had ever been compromised by private-sector ties and would “take full responsibility” for the “oversight.”

However, she may have breached the Commission’s code of conduct on two counts—holding a directorship (whether “gainful” or not) at the time she was a commissioner, and not naming the Bahamas-registered company as an interest in the decade leading up to her role in the Commission.

The company, Mint Holdings, is still active. Another of its directors, the Jordanian businessman Amin Badr-El-Din, said it had been set up as a special purpose vehicle to “manage the acquisition of international energy assets, principally from Enron,” with the aim of becoming “the world’s premier gas company,” but the deal fell through in 2000.

Kroes isn’t the only politician to be embarrassed by the new leaks. According to The Guardian, British home secretary Amber Rudd has also been shown to be involved with two companies in the offshore tax haven.

For more on leaks, watch our video.

Since leaving the Commission, Kroes has become a lobbyist for Uber.

She recently got into an argument with her former colleagues over Apple’s $14.5 billion Irish tax bill—she said current antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager had made the wrong call, but the Commission pointed out that she was misrepresenting the nature of the case, and highlighted her Silicon Valley ties.