Do nancial criminals commit
Lycéee Robert Doisneau, Corbeil-Essonnes, France
and Université d’Evry Val d’Essonne, Evry, France
Purpose – Financial criminals commit crimes with such disconcerting ease that economic and social
stability is threatened. Armed with intangible knowledge and backed by legal, nancial and accounting
expertise, criminals use their intellectual weapons to carry out their activities with impunity by
operating in extra-territorial spaces such as tax havens. The purpose of this paper is based on
interviews with key gures in the French judiciary and also French tax ofcials.
Design/methodology/approach – A survey in the form of semi-directive interviews was conducted
from March to July 2012 with auditors, judicial magistrates and a representative of a large trade union
of the French Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry. Questioning this panel of persons from
different but associated horizons enabled the collection of practical, technical and professional
information on how they perceive acts of nancial crime in the practice of their mission.
Findings – It was possible to observe that nancial crime is motive-driven and develops in specic
spaces and contexts, aided by informational weapons.
Research limitations/implications – By promoting both nancial optimisation and tax
minimisation, non-cooperative territories provide the perfect breeding ground for innovative minds to
distort social norms which uphold equal tax treatment and a common effort. Financial information is the
recurring theme throughout, allowing ever more cunning offenders to distort the value of words and the
meaning of economic results.
Practical implications – The ease with which nancial crimes are committed remains striking.
Understanding the reasons why nancial criminals appear to enjoy relative impunity requires
questioning the magistrates and actors involved in the combat against nancial crime. The interviews
conducted with these key players show that nancial crime develops and ourishes on the basis of a
threefold specicity: a specic motive linked to absolute enrichment without economic foundation,
diffuse and imprecise spaces where economic crimes proliferate with total impunity and an intangible
weapon in the form of nancial information.
Social implications – The private appropriation of nancial information leads to the
misappropriation of public goods and its capture by private operators, thereby depriving the
community of a source of knowledge and expertise.
Originality/value – This paper is based on interviews with key gures in the French judiciary and
also French tax ofcials. A survey in the form of semi-directive interviews was conducted from March
to July 2012 with auditors, judicial magistrates and a representative of a large trade union of the French
Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry.
Keywords Tax havens, Financial crime, Financial information, Intellectual weapon, Motive,
Paper type Viewpoint
In the light of the social cost of nancial crime, combating this scourge represents a
primordial democratic and nancial challenge. Indeed, according to the House of Lords,
EU fraud amounts to between 10 and 15 per cent of the European Union’s budget,
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.23 No. 3, 2016
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited