TaxAdministrationCustoms needs separate prosecuting authority

Customs needs separate prosecuting authority

A independent report into the investigation techniques used by Customs & Excise has slammed the tax gathering body following a series of bungled cases, and has called for a separate prosecuting authority to be set up.

Link: Customs arrests 39 in VAT fraud swoop

The government commissioned review by Justice Butterfield said such an authority should be independent of Customs and be accountable directly to the attorney general.

In addition, the report also called for better, fully documented handling of informants, regular refresher training and more detailed expert legal advice for investigators. Customs investigators should also face ‘systematic external scrutiny’, the FT reported today.

A number of fraud investigations have gone badly wrong, most notably a trial of 15 men accused of fraudulently evading £84m alcohol duty, which collapsed in November.

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