UK Taxman Targets Organized Crime
May 14, 2012 Taxation in UK
LONDON – The HM Revenue and Customs, with the cooperation of other law enforcement agencies, is initiating a greater number of tax cases against criminal organization , and has recovered millions of pounds of assets and cash arisen from criminal activities.
Over the weekend the Civil Recovery Unit (CRU) released its annual report, detailing their efforts to recover properties and funds obtained through criminal and illicit activities in Scotland over the 2011 fiscal year.
According to the report, over 2011 and 2012, the CRU referred 20 cases of large scale tax evasion to the HM Revenue and Customs. The cases are alleged to involve approximately GBP 2 million of unpaid taxes on proceeds from organized crime and money laundering, and recovered GBP 3.5 million in assets and cash.
In the newly published report the CRU noted an increasing number of cases where criminals are attempting to hide their incomes and receives welfare payments from the government. Throughout 2011 and 2012 the CRU recovered over GBP 182 600 in funds that were obtained by criminals committing benefit fraud.
According to law enforcement expert, CRU is increasing its cooperation other government departments and law enforcement agencies in the UK and Scotland in order to collect data and evidence on lawyers and accountants who help facilitate tax evasion and money laundering for organized criminal organizations.
Commenting on the CRU’s results for the year, the solicitor-general of Scotland Lesley Thomason said, “…as important as the sum recovered, is the disruption caused to individual criminals and serious and organised crime groups in Scotland.” Explaining the significance of the CRU’s work, she said, “…when the money and assets go [from the criminals], so does the status and the power.”
The CRU was created in 2003 and works under the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) to ” use civil court proceedings to disrupt crime and to make Scotland a hostile environment for criminals.” With the cooperation of the CRU, in 2011 and 2012 the COPFS recovered an additional GBP 7 million in funds and assets originally derived from criminal activity.
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