Tax fraud is usually a ‘paper’ fraud. During a criminal investigation the Public Prosecution Service will rely on the necessary (coercive) measures in order to gain insight into the underlying paper trail. Paper is, however, ‘patient’. The questioning of those involved serves to determine the background but also the knowledge and the degree of imputability.
For a long time it had been common practice that on the day that the FIOD conducted raids and/or filed requests for transmission of documents within the framework of a criminal investigation suspects were also apprehended and witnesses questioned immediately. It follows from the current practice that the FIOD only conducts an investigation after all information has been sequestrated. Then a period of radio silence follows. To outsiders it may seem as if the case is dying a slow death. Often nothing is further away from the truth, they are preparing the questioning of suspects and witnesses.
To these witnesses and suspects it is also of utmost importance that they properly prepare themselves for this kind of questioning.
The distinction between the status of suspect and witness and between the questioning instances (investigating officer, investigative judge or trial judge) implies that the rights and obligations are different. To, for instance, directors and major shareholders, accountants, tax consultants, and entrepreneurs this is usually unknown territory. Our lawyers handled many cases as well as negotiations that focussed and focus on this subject matter. We also provide frequent assistance before and during questioning.