The Times reports that only one person on the "Lagarde List" of 6,000 tax evaders has been convicted of serious fraud, and only 500 have been investigated on suspicion of fraud.
A senior HMRC official told The Times:
“The courts would not thank HMRC for taking zillions of prosecutions into them, so we have a selective prosecution policy. We want to use prosecution as a deterrent.”Zillions eh?
A tad exaggerated n'est pas?
I can see the pragmatic benefits to the Treasury of "cutting a deal". However, it does send a rather confusing message to those who have criminal intentions.
There is also the question of dual standards, as Pinsent Masons director Ray McCann told The Times:
“It is those at the lower end of the social scale who go to prison. There is no immunity offer for benefit cheats.It's a funny old world!
The Revenue made a policy decision…Where there was an HSBC account, they would automatically go to contractual disclosure facility. This means immunity from prosecution is guaranteed if you own up to tax evasion, whether it be a small amount or billions.”
Tax does have to be taxing.
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