In Madrid, the Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos’ took place from May 14 until 18. During this tribunal, representatives of local populations whose voice is not heard by official organizations exposed human rights violations by multinational corporations in Latin America. The Argentinian oil company Pluspetrol was one of the corporations brought to the tribunal on accusations of destroying the habitat of the Quechua indians in the northern Amazon region of Peru. A researcher from SOMO was present at the tribunal to illustrate the corporate structure of Pluspetrol. Since 2000, the Pluspetrol headquarters are located in Amsterdam.
The company also has subsidiaries in a number of tax havens such as the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands. Additionally, Pluspetrol is settled in the countries in which the actual commercial and operational activities take place, such as Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Argentina.
The headquarters in the Netherlands are classified as a so-called mailbox company: a company without employees located in a trust office. This means that commercial or operational activities do not take place here, however, Pluspetrol can benefit from the tax advantages and investment treaties offered by the Netherlands because on paper the company is located in the Netherlands. This allows Pluspetrol to engage in tax evasion activities via the Netherlands or to make use of Dutch bilateral investment treaties in order to hold back Peruvian legislation.
In the outcome of the People’s Tribunal, which was released in the Circulo de bellas Artes on May 17, Pluspetrol was found guilty of violating the rights of indigenous communities. Read the full outcome of the tribunal in Spanish here. For a report in English click here.