Paris, 6 November 2013
The draft law related to the fight against tax fraud and serious economic and financial crimes was adopted by the French Parliament. Some progress has been made:
- The associations fighting against corruption will be able to file civil suits. However, Sherpa regrets that this progress is tempered by the obligation for those associations to get government approval;
- Similarly, the legal text increases protection for whistleblowers, although it remains insufficient to effectively ensure their safety;
- Finally, some tools to prosecute fraud and corruption have been enhanced, including fines proportional to turnover that will be imposed on legal persons, the crime of organised tax fraud now enshrined in law, the constitution of a public registry of trusts, and provisions related to transfer prices.
Nevertheless, Sherpa regrets that many proposals supported by the association and other NGOs have not been retained, especially:
- The suppression of the French Minister of Budget’s sole control over any prosecution of tax matters. Yet, considering the increase of tax pressure, it seems justified to question a system likely to compromise the equality of all before tax;
- The prohibition for the State and any other legal entity of public law to resort to arbitration in domestic law, in view of the Tapie/Lagarde case;
- The reinforcement of the French Central Service for the Prevention of Corruption (SCPC);Service central de prévention de la corruption ;
- The reform aiming to declassify top-secret information in order to prevent arbitrary refusals, as happened in the Taiwan frigates case;
- The incrimination of trading in influence with foreign public officials;
- The obligation for the financial prosecution service to prosecute law infringements that fall within its area of competence based on the model in force in Germany, Italy and Spain.
Sherpa regrets this uncompleted project, which shows that the ambitions of the lawmakers to fight fraud and corruption are much too modest.
Sophia Lakhdar, Directrice, 01.42.21.33.25, email@example.com
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