Profession accused of ‘little white lies’

In the survey, carried out by Summit International, a global alliance of accountancy firms, 22% of accountants admitted money laundering is a ‘robust activity or even a key factor’ in their national economy.

A further 78% said it was a small operation within their economy. Tax fraud also seems to be common practice, with 65% of respondents saying they believe one-in-four companies worldwide fiddle their taxes.

Combating financial crime is a key issue among the G8 countries. In an interview ahead of the protest-hit G8 summit in Italy this week, Russian president Vladimir Putin revealed his country had just passed legislation toughening rules against money laundering.

Summit, which has offices in all of the G8 countries, said: ‘Either there are a handful of people at the top who really know what’s going on, or they are playing down the problem in the hope that it’s OK to be just a little bit bent.’

Geoff Barnes, chief executive officer of Summit and partner at Baker Tilley, said: ‘Claims that incidences of serious money laundering in well known hot spots are no different than in Europe seems a bit blinkered.’


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