Commissioner Jorouvás on September 26 : Crime is harming our economies and decreasing trust of tax payers. It is our duty to fight against this crime which can be done only by joining forces. I am speaking about a pan European issue that cannot be resolved by national authorities only.
As you might know, Eurojust and OLAF are not equipped to lead criminal investigations or prosecutions, national authorities are facing limits in addressing fraud cases either for political or resources reasons. And once we enter cross-border fraud the current ad hoc structures of judicial cooperation in criminal matters via joint investigations teams for example are lengthy and not the best to create expertise and know-how.
National prosecutors work well in Germany, they prosecute cases of fraud very actively but their work is difficult whenever they have to seize an evidence abroad, whenever this investigation needs to take place very quickly and simultaneously in another Member State.
The idea of the European Public Prosecutor the way I see it is to equip us with a specialised professional body to deal on a professional and permanent basis with financial crime in the EU.
And this matters politically and economically. We need a European Public Prosecutor to deal with the alleged fraud cases we all read about in cohesion countries. But we also need it to tackle the big VAT fraud cases, especially in the cross border context. Our estimate of around 50 bio loss in revenues per year due to VAT fraud is conservative, the real figure is much higher. We need an effective answer to these negative impacts on the EU budget, but also the national budgets.
Where are we on this? We are in the final stretch of our negotiations, and the Slovak Presidency is keen to come to a political deal on this by the end of this year. This would allow us to formally adopt the EPPO Regulation in the Council early next year, followed by the consent of the European Parliament. After a gradual build-up, the EPPO could take up functions in 2019.
In the October Council we will discuss the cost and benefits of the EPPO as it looks now – after 3 years of negotiations. This is not only about establishing a new body, it is also about reorganising the process to better address the challenges.
From Wikipedia: Controversy
Links to the arms trade
In December 2008 the British anti-poverty charity War on Want released a report documenting the extent to which HBOS and other UK commercial banks invest in, provide banking services for and make loans to arms companies. The charity wrote that HBOS held shares in the UK arms sector totalling £483.4 million, and served as principal banker for Babcock International and Chemring.[
QUOTE: HBOS, which owned the Halifax and Bank of Scotland brands, suffered heavy losses in the 2008 financial crisis and neared collapse as its funding was cut off by the credit crunch.
It had to be rescued by a combination of a public bailout and a merger with Lloyds TSB, costing the taxpayer around £20 billion in the early part of 2009.
So far, only one person – former HBOS wholesale banking chief Peter Cummings – has been fined and banned from working in the City by regulators investigating the collapse. END OF QUOTE
Financial Times: London court hears of ex-HBOS banker’s ‘corrupt relationship’ with business consultant
The Guardian, Jill Treanor Friday 2 July 2010
… “because of the public interest in this case … we can confirm that we have commenced an investigation into the HBOS Reading matter under section 168 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA)”.
Lloyds declined to comment, while Scourfield and Quayside could not be reached. However, at the time of the BBC investigation, David Mills, Quayside’s founder, denied any wrongdoing.
“I and Quayside Corporate Services acted as advisers to a number of banks and accounting firms to help implement commercial decisions made by our clients to try to turn around failing businesses,” Mills said.
The Guardian: “Scourfield advanced huge sums to the businesses, and continued to do so well past the point when it would have been obvious to any honest banker that the bank debt could and would never be repaid,” prosecution counsel Brian O’Neill QC told the court.
This allowed Mills and his associates to demand allegedly excessive fees for consultancy services and, in some instances, provided an opportunity for them to take control of the struggling companies, running them for their own benefit.
More than £28m passed from HBOS through the bank accounts of either Mills, his wife or companies under his control, O’Neill said. Not all of that sum stayed with the defendants, he conceded, though Mills and his wife “did benefit enormously”.
Former HBOS banker received string of bribes, court hears
Lynden Scourfield had corrupt relationship with David Mills, with bribes including cash, a credit card and prostitutes, jury told