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VIRTEU
NATIONAL WORKSHOP
The Netherlands

On the 19th of October 2021, it was held the VIRTEU National Workshop, which focused on the Netherlands.

 

During the workshop, and through a series of questions, several experts were called upon to provide critical evaluations based on their professional experience about the relation between tax crimes and corruption. The discussion aimed at shedding light on systemic weaknesses within the context of contrasting such criminal phenomena from a legal and practical perspective.

Organization and Moderation:

Dr. Costantino Grasso 

Associate Professor in Business and Law at Manchester Law School
VIRTEU Principal Investigator

Dr. Lorenzo Pasculli

Associate Head for Research at Coventry Law School
VIRTEU Co-lnvestigator

The video recordings of the event is available below. 

Suggested Citation

APA: [Speaker's surname, initial(s)] (2021, October 19). VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session [1 or 2]. Video recording at [00:00]. Retrieved from https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands

HARVARD: [Speaker's surname, initial(s)] (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session [1 or 2] [Online]. Video recording at [00:00]. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands

OSCOLA: [Speaker's name and surname] ‘VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands’, Session [1 or 2] (Corporate Crime Observatory, 19 October 2021), Video recording at [00:00], <https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands>

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National Experts:

• Pascal Bonnet

Project Manager in the Area of Anti-Money Laundering at the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service Department (FIOD)

• Martin Lambregts

Public Prosecutor at the Netherlands Public Prosecution Department
• Josien Pauwelussen

Public Prosecutor at the Netherlands Public Prosecution Department, and National Expert at the European Anti-Fraud Office

Project Experts:
• Prof. Joseph A. McCahery
Full Professor in Commercial and Business Law at Tilburg University, and VIRTEU National Leading Expert for the Netherlands

Dr. Branislav Hock
Senior Lecturer in Economic Crime at the University of Portsmouth

Paul Pudschedl  
Lecturer in Finance and Researcher at Tilburg University

Dr. Donato Vozza 
Lecturer in Criminal Law at the University of Roehampton

VIRTEU NATIONAL WORKSHOP - THE NETHERLANDS - SESSION 1

The first session of the workshop was devoted to the exploration of the following topics:

•  The phenomenon of tax crimes;

•  The complexity of the legal system and adequacy of the legal definitions;

•  The potential deficiencies of the legal system;

•  The sectoral vulnerabilities to fraud and corruption in the area of taxation.​

Interactive Table of Contents
 
 

  • Welcome and Introduction: Dr. Costantino Grasso

  • Topic 1: The phenomenon of tax crime in the Netherlands

  • Topic 2: National tax crime practices

  • Topic 3: Transnational tax crime practices

  • Topic 4: Complexity of the Dutch taxation system

  • Topic 5: Complexity and adequacy of Dutch criminal law

  • Topic 6: Actions against tax crimes

  • Topic 7: Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs)

  • Topic 8: Financial institutions and economic crime

  • Topic 9: Sectors most vulnerable to tax crimes

Select Opinions and Arguments

Josien Pauwelussen: In order to get as many clients as possible, intermediaries who prepare tax returns for other people, intentionally include tax discounts that are not applicable to those people, "and enable them to access specific help or benefits [...] very often these people have just heard from this person you have €300 or €400 extra, and they were happy with this and didn’t ask any questions."  

Suggested citation: Pauwelussen, Josien (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 1 [Online]. Video recording at 11:38. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Martin Lambregts: Transnational tax crimes often involve hiding assets abroad, and within Europe, this happens most commonly in connection to Switzerland, Cyprus, Malta, Belgium, and Liechtenstein.

Suggested citation: Lambregts, Martin (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 1 [Online]. Video recording at 17:02. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Martin Lambregts: One relevant form of e-commerce tax fraud occurs when traders import goods from China and trade them via Amazon without paying VAT. This affects European producers that face a competitive disadvantage.

Suggested citation: Lambregts, Martin (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 1 [Online]. Video recording at 20:15. Available at: tps://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Martin Lambregts: The tax system is very complex and this may adversely affect prosecuting tax crimes. "People can claim: ‘well... it is so complex our tax system, I hired this [...] tax advisor, and he or she gave me advice, and I trusted that advice’. When you have a debate in court about a tax crime, the defense can say to the criminal judge: ‘this is so technical, and it relates so much to the explanation [...] of tax laws, that we shouldn’t have this debate in front of [...] the criminal judge but [...] in a tax court’."

Suggested citation: Lambregts, Martin (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 1 [Online]. Video recording at 24:32. Available at: tps://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Josien Pauwelussen: Although the applicable criminal law provisions are sufficient, the problems are the inherent complexity of the tax evasion schemes (e.g., carousel frauds) that are difficult to understand and to present in court, as well as the difficulties in proving the intent.  

Suggested citation: Pauwelussen, Josien (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 1 [Online]. Video recording at 30:41. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Pascal Bonnet:  Legal instruments that grant leniency in case of voluntary disclosure of unpaid taxes may encourage tax evasion behaviors whereas, in the same cases, the application of penalties appears to deter future misconduct.  

Suggested citation: Bonnet, Pascal (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 1 [Online]. Video recording at 45:21. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Josien Pauwelussen: Where a threshold of criminalization is introduced, people tend to evade taxes up to such a threshold.  

Suggested citation: Pauwelussen, Josien (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 1 [Online]. Video recording at 47:36. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Martin Lambregts: The sectors that appear most vulnerable to tax crimes in The Netherlands are the construction, infrastructure, real estate, and financial sectors. 

Suggested citation: Lambregts, Martin (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 1 [Online]. Video recording at 01:05:59. Available at: tps://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

VIRTEU NATIONAL WORKSHOP - THE NETHERLANDS - SESSION 2


The second session of the workshop offered a special focus on the following topics:

• The role of professionals as enablers of economic crime;

• Institutional corruption and undue influence on the political decision-making process;

• Effectiveness and limits of investigative powers and anti-tax crime/corruption strategies;

• Attribution of corporate criminal liability and settlement procedures;

• The relevance of whistleblowing and whistleblowers protection.

Interactive Table of Contents
 
 

  • Topic 1: Enablers and facilitators of tax crimes

  • Topic 2: Connections between enablers and tax authorities

  • Topic 3: The "revolving door" phenomenon

  • Topic 4: Undue influence on the political process

  • Topic 5: Supranational check: the role of EPPO and OLAF

  • Topic 6: Adequacy of investigative powers and resources

  • Topic 7: Liability of legal entities for tax crimes

  • Topic 8: The role of whistleblowers in fighting tax crimes

  • Topic 9: The role of investigative journalists

Select Opinions and Arguments

Pascal Bonnet:  The investment trust industry and the professionals involved in it, including lawyers, accountants and bankers, play a major role in facilitating the evasion of taxation.  

Suggested citation: Bonnet, Pascal (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 2 [Online]. Video recording at 03:18. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Martin Lambregts: When it comes to tax crimes, "first and foremost tax lawyers" play a key role in facilitating the evasion of taxation.

Suggested citation: Lambregts, Martin (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 2 [Online]. Video recording at 05:37. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Josien Pauwelussen: The Chambers of Commerce do not monitor adequately potential company law abuses. For instance, where homeless people are used as a figurehead for the creation of fake companies.  

Suggested citation: Pauwelussen, Josien (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 2 [Online]. Video recording at 07:41. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Josien Pauwelussen: Under the current legislative framework, it is not easy to prosecute facilitators (e.g., accountants) as accomplices of tax crimes where they act as consultants for the offending legal entity or individual. "Sometimes the legislation may not be sufficient." 

Suggested citation: Pauwelussen, Josien (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 2 [Online]. Video recording at 08:21. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Pascal Bonnet:  In some instances, professionals of top accounting firms attempted to thwart investigations taking advantage of their close connections with high-level public figures.

Suggested citation: Bonnet, Pascal (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 2 [Online]. Video recording at 13:27. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Pascal Bonnet: There have been cases where corporate tax and insider trading investigations were hampered as a result of the "revolving door" phenomenon; and, on other occasions where financial institutions were under investigation, the Ministry of Finance stepped in.

Suggested citation: Bonnet, Pascal (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 2 [Online]. Video recording at 15:43. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Josien Pauwelussen: The line between lobbying and corrupt practices is blurry. The Netherlands has been depicted as a tax haven and it seems clear that there are advantages for both big firms and the national government in being involved in such a scenario.

Suggested citation: Pauwelussen, Josien (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 2 [Online]. Video recording at 19:19. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Martin Lambregts: The academic world is a problematic area due to the presence of potential conflicts of interest. It is common for tax law professors to work for big accountancy firms. This is an issue in that the advice that lawmakers receive from them may be biased rather than neutral and objective.    

Suggested citation: Lambregts, Martin (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 2 [Online]. Video recording at 20:50. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Josien Pauwelussen: The potential conflict of interests of academics in the area of tax law, who work for big accountancy firms, is also problematic in court proceedings whenever there is the need for truly independent expert witnesses.

Suggested citation: Pauwelussen, Josien (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 2 [Online]. Video recording at 22:45. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Pascal Bonnet:  There is a significant gap between the expertise and capabilities of tax authorities and those of specialized private sector organizations.  

Suggested citation: Bonnet, Pascal (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 2 [Online]. Video recording at 41:54. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands. Attorney-Client Privilege

Martin Lambregts: In the Netherlands, attorney-client privilege and the relating rules may significantly slow down tax crime investigations.    

Suggested citation: Lambregts, Martin (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 2 [Online]. Video recording at 43:19. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Josien Pauwelussen: In tax crime investigations, wiretapping is used much less frequently than in cases related for example to drug trafficking or robbery.

Suggested citation: Pauwelussen, Josien (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 2 [Online]. Video recording at 48:57. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Martin Lambregts: In the Netherlands, investigations of tax crimes and investigations of corrupt practices are "usually split".    

Suggested citation: Lambregts, Martin (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 2 [Online]. Video recording at 51:15. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Martin Lambregts: The trend is currently in the direction of allowing legal entities to enter into settlement agreements with prosecutors to solve criminal cases.    

Suggested citation: Lambregts, Martin (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 2 [Online]. Video recording at 55:10. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Martin Lambregts: Notwithstanding the establishment of the "Dutch House for Whistleblowers," there is still a climate of fear and uncertainty that discourages potential whistleblowers.     

Suggested citation: Lambregts, Martin (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 2 [Online]. Video recording at 01:18:17. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.

Josien Pauwelussen: Investigative journalists, like Bellingcat, play a crucial role in unveiling potential criminal cases.

Suggested citation: Pauwelussen, Josien (2021) VIRTEU National Workshop - The Netherlands, Session 2 [Online]. Video recording at 01:17:19. Available at: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-workshop-netherlands.