Countries join forces in tackling assets concealed abroad
31 maart 2017 - Functioneel Parket
Under the supervision of the the National Prosecutor’s Office for Serious Fraud, Environmental Crime and Asset Confiscation, the FIOD is investigating dozens of people who are suspected of tax fraud and money laundering. They are alleged to have concealed many millions of euros from the authorities by placing them in Swiss bank accounts. Criminal investigations are also ongoing in Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom and France.
Yesterday, during internationally coordinated operations, the FIOD searched houses of persons with undeclared savings and seized administrative records from the Swiss bank. The same operations were carried out in the other European countries and Australia. The suspects with undeclared savings in the above-mentioned countries all deposited their money in the same Swiss bank.
Eurojust facilitated the coordination of the national operations. By this simultaneous and coordinated approach, the participating countries demonstrated that they joined forces in tackling this type of fraud. International cooperation is important, because undeclared assets are often a cross-border crime. In the near future, international cooperation will be further intensified. The role of possible service providers will also be investigated. Yesterday, the FIOD arrested two persons who presumably did not declare their savings, and two suspects were interviewed. The FIOD seized administrative records as well as the contents of bank accounts, immovable properties, and jewellery, an expensive car, expensive paintings and a gold bar from houses in The Hague, Hoofddorp, Zwolle and the municipality of Venlo in the Netherlands. The FIOD has acquired information about thousands of account holders. In the next few weeks, more operations will be carried out.
Tax fraud is disruptive
Undeclared assets disrupt the normal functioning of society. Non-payment of taxes on foreign assets causes huge financial losses, and forces others to bear the entire tax burden. Fraud can undermine tax systems. In addition, tracing the origin of funds held in foreign bank accounts can be difficult. The money is often the proceeds of crime. We must prevent illegally obtained funds from entering legitimate transactions. Laundering criminal money is a punishable offence.
Report foreign assets to the Netherlands Tax and Customs Administration
With an integrated approach, the investigation services, Public Prosecution Service and the Netherlands Tax and Customs Administration want to tackle tax fraud and money laundering abroad. All taxpayers must declare their assets correctly to the Netherlands Tax and Customs Administration, so that the proper tax can be levied on assets.
The likelihood that the Netherlands Tax and Customs Administration can trace concealed foreign assets is increasing. By exchanging data with foreign authorities in a structured fashion, by obtaining information from anonymous informers, and by smart data linking and other types of investigation, such as debit and credit card transactions and voluntary disclosure by taxpayers, the Netherlands Tax and Customs Administration is increasingly able to identify taxpayers who do not file tax returns, or only file incomplete tax returns. International cooperation and the abolition of bank secrecy laws will mean that a greater number of people with undeclared savings could be apprehended.
In the past few years, many people have voluntarily disclosed their foreign assets, as permitted by the Netherlands Tax and Customs Administration. If people with undeclared savings report themselves voluntarily, the penalty is 120%. If not voluntarily reported, the maximum penalty is 300%. On top of this, any person who does not declare his/her foreign assets may be subject to criminal investigation.