On October 23, 2018, the French Parliament enacted a law aimed at combatting fraud (the “Law”). The most innovative provisions of the Law change key procedural aspects of tax law enforcement, which is likely to result in an increased number of criminal tax fraud prosecutions against both individuals and legal entities. The Law also addresses customs and social security frauds.
Following the decisions in The RBS Rights Issue Litigation and Serious Fraud Office v Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Limited (“ENRC”), it was thought that the prospect of claiming legal professional privilege in English proceedings over interview memoranda generated during internal investigations was slim (see our client alert on those two cases (PDF: 172 KB)). However, a recent decision of the English High Court in Bilta (UK) Limited and Others v (1) Royal Bank of Scotland Plc (2) Mercuria Energy Europe Trading Limited (“Bilta”) has refused the disclosure of interview memoranda on the basis of litigation privilege, providing a glimmer of hope for corporates who seek to protect such documents from disclosure. Continue reading
Offshore financial centers and tax havens remain a popular means for businesses and wealthy individuals to reduce their domestic tax burdens by keeping money abroad. This issue has attracted significant attention from policy makers, who have attempted to eliminate the “international tax gap” — lost domestic tax revenue due to undeclared assets held abroad — by enhancing information exchange among national tax authorities. The value of undeclared assets held abroad has been estimated to be in the range of $5-$7 trillion. But due to the inherent nature of tax evasion — non-reporting and concealment of assets — there is a lack of specific information about the size of the international tax gap and the role that offshore financial centers and tax havens have played in widening that gap.
In a recent study published by the Bank of Italy, we have tried to provide new insight on the magnitude of the international tax gap by analyzing investment position and balance of payments statistics. The paper provides an overview of how tax havens are used as hubs in international financial transactions. Continue reading