Financial fraud on the rise

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The 30-percent-increase in 2007 may be due to improved reporting system that helps authorities uncover circuits of criminal activities and financing.

21 April 2008

BELGIUM – The annual report of the Belgian Financial Processing Unit CTIF-CFI shows 30 percent more cases of financial fraud were reported in 2007 than the year prior.

In 2007, there were 13,000 reports of possible fraud as compared with 10,000 reported cases in 2006.

One plausible explanation for the 30 percent increase is that since 2007, banks and other financial institutions reported directly to the CFI when they noticed suspect transactions.

The CFI plays a key role in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.

This enables the authorities to uncover circuits of illegal criminal activities such as money laundering connected with drugs, trafficking and crime.

The system could also give important leads on terrorism financing.

The Tax Inspection Department (BBI) also uncovered more cases of tax evasion in 2007.

The head of the BBI told the financial daily De Tijd that it plans to do more investigation into cash flows through internet sites such as eBay. He suspects that some people are doing business over the internet to avoid paying taxes.

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