Whole-of-Government Approach in fighting crime and finding new ways to tax | World Bank publication

Is the ‘Whole-of-Government Approach‘ the latest trend in fighting crime? The World Bank Group has published a report [1] in the ‘stolen asset recovery initiative series‘ [2], with as title:

Taxing Crime. A Whole-of-Government Approach to Fighting Corruption, Money Laundering, and Tax Crimes

This includes all crime, except crime where no financial gain accrues.
According to the abstract [1] the report

examines how tax audits and investigations can lead to uncovering white-collar crime and how investigations of corruption can, in turn, lead to prosecutions of tax evasion or recovery of unpaid taxes

and it:

offers analysis, case studies, examples of legal and operational frameworks, and recommendations that policy makers can use to enhance cooperation between tax authorities and law enforcement agencies at the national and international levels. This study is designed to serve as a reference and source of advocacy for policy makers, but it may be useful to other practitioners as well, including law enforcement officials, investigating magistrates, and prosecutors. Specifically, chapters present strategic considerations for establishing communication channels between tax and criminal investigative agencies; suggestions for combining tax and financial crime prosecution as part of an interagency asset recovery strategy; and approaches to developing interagency information exchange at the regional and international levels. It concludes with recommendations on ways to enhance the roles of both the tax authorities in combating money laundering and corruption and of the law enforcement authorities in recovering the proceeds of tax crimes

The report is focusing on the efficiency of investigation and prosecution. Exchange of data by authorities takes centre stage. Familiar topics come up, such as the supposed usefulness of beneficial ownership information and the English system of ‘UWO’, the ‘Unexplained Wealth Orders’ (anyone who is rich must prove the legal origin of the wealth). How authorities are prevented from making mistakes and the legal protection of citizens is left out of the discussion.

According to a tax lawyer who read the report, the report assumes too much about authorities never making mistakes and not being biased, so legal protection of citizens is not considered necessary. He is concerned about dark backrooms where public servants surreptitiously exchange personal data, without rule of law review.

The report shows that people in many international fora (like OECD, FATF, UN) are doing the same thing, all out of public view and without the requirement of democratic accountability.

The international capabilities of the authorities have greatly increased, of which FATCA – American legislation which has caused citizens considerable harm – is an example [3]. With increased capabilities of authorities there should be mature legal protection of citizens against mistakes and abuse of power.


[1] Found in the World Bank eLibrary: here.
[2] On page 4 the initiative is introduced: “The Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) is a partnership between the World Bank Group and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that supports international efforts to end safe havens for corrupt funds.“.
[3] More on FATCA and Citizenship-Based Taxation (CBT) on this page (Dutch). Information in English is found on the website of SEAT – Stop Extraterritorial American Taxation, that has published a report. The harm done by FATCA should be a lesson.


Over Ellen Timmer

Weblog: https://ellentimmer.com/ ||| Microblog: https://mastodon.nl/@ellent ||| Motto: goede bedoelingen rechtvaardigen geen slechte regels
Dit bericht werd geplaatst in Belastingrecht, English - posts in English on this blog, Financieel recht, onder meer Wft, Wtt, Fraude, witwasbestrijding, Wwft, Grondrechten, Strafrecht en getagged met , , , , , , . Maak dit favoriet permalink.

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