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Eva Joly: Economic Crime Fighter

by afew Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 06:43:56 AM EST

 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 

As for the black and grey lists of the OECD, they have existed for ten years... but have never prevented the growth of tax havens.

Among the well-known figures on the Europe Ecologie lists for the EP elections in France, is Eva Joly, second on the list for the Ile de France (ie Paris and surrounding region). Norwegian-French, Eva Joly spent her career as a magistrate in France, where she became a very high-profile investigator in the field of financial delinquency. In the 1990s she became the symbol of the upright magistrate stubbornly facing off against the upper circles of political and business power; in 2002 she retired to Norway, hinting at the time that she didn't want to stick around in France where vengeance might be sought against her. This candidature (number two to Daniel Cohn-Bendit) is her first return to public life in France since then.

In an interview for Télérama this week she gives her point of view on international financial delinquency and corruption and on the EU's attitude to it.

Peut-on venir à bout de la grande délinquance financière ? - Le monde bouge - Télérama.fr Can we put an end to high-level financial delinquency? - Télérama.fr
Vous avez déclaré un jour : « On ne peut pas gagner le combat contre la corruption, nous avons perdu contre le pouvoir et la cupidité, mais cette lutte vaut la peine d'être menée.» Où trouvez-vous la force de continuer à mener une cause qui vous semble perdue ?You once said: "We can't win the fight against corruption, we have lost against power and greed, but this struggle is worth pursuing." Where do you find the strength to continue to pursue a cause that you feel is lost?
Je ne crois plus qu'on puisse instruire contre le pouvoir à très haut niveau. Nulle part, y compris dans des pays très démocratiques. Au bout d'un moment, le pouvoir finit toujours par ne plus tolérer les intrusions qui le menacent. Quand j'ai créé une unité anti-corruption à Madagascar, j'ai expliqué aux enquêteurs qu'ils pouvaient épingler le directeur des douanes, pas le Premier ministre. Cette guerre-là est perdue d'avance. Madagascar est un pays à la démocratie incertaine. Dans un pays comme la France, il faut être plus courageux, mais c'est à haut risque. Au niveau international, nous pouvons fermer les lieux où les personnalités corrompues cachent leur butin. C'est la raison pour laquelle il faut lutter sans relâche contre les paradis fiscaux I no longer believe we can conduct investigations against the very highest level of power. Not anywhere, including in highly democratic countries. After a while, the government always ends up by ceasing to tolerate intrusions which threaten it. When I created an anti-corruption unit in Madagascar, I explained to the investigators that they could pin down the Director of Customs, but not the Prime Minister. That's a war that's lost in advance. Madagascar is a country of uncertain democracy. In a country like France, it's right to be more courageous, but it's high-risk. At the international level, we can close the places where corrupt public figures hide their loot. That is why we must fight relentlessly against tax havens.


Asked what she thinks of current much-vaunted measures against tax havens, Eva Joly goes on:

Peut-on venir à bout de la grande délinquance financière ? - Le monde bouge - Télérama.fr
Il n'y a pas de volonté politique suffisante pour en finir avec les paradis fiscaux. Partout les liens sont très forts entre le pouvoir et le capital. Barack Obama ne fait pas exception. Personne ne peut se fait élire président des Etats-Unis sans l'appui de Wall Street. Les plus gros donateurs de sa campagne s'appellent Goldman Sachs, UBS, J.P. Morgan, Chase et Citigroup. Tous des géants de la finance. En Europe, Angela Merkel était très offensive contre les paradis fiscaux, mais son propre secrétaire d'Etat à l'Economie, Axel Nawrath, m'avait un jour confié : « Madame Joly, l'Europe ne fera jamais rien contre les paradis fiscaux. Au coeur de l'Europe, nous avons le Luxembourg et la City de Londres. Et vous croyez que les Anglais ou les Luxembourgeois accepteront qu'on réforme un système dont ils sont les premiers bénéficiaires ? »There is no political will to put an end to tax havens. Everywhere the links are very strong between governmental power and capital. Barack Obama is no exception. Nobody can be elected president of the United States without the support of Wall Street. The largest donors to his campaign are called Goldman Sachs, UBS, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup. All are giants of the finance sector. In Europe, Angela Merkel was strongly on the offensive against tax havens, but her own Secretary of State for the Economy, Axel Nawrath, once said to me: "Madame Joly, Europe will never do anything against tax havens. At the heart of Europe, we have Luxembourg and the City of London. And you think the English or the Luxemburgers will accept reform of a system from which they are the first to benefit?"
L'annonce de la fin du secret bancaire et la publication par l'OCDE de listes de pays « non coopératifs » ne constituent donc pas, à vos yeux, une avancée ?So the announcement of the end of bank secrecy and the publication by the OECD of lists of "non-cooperative" countries are not a breakthrough, in your view?
Seuls les particuliers seront touchés par ces mesures, et encore, ceux qui ne sont pas astucieux. Les autres se cacheront derrière des sociétés fictives ou des trusts (NDLR : entités juridiques permettant de dissimuler les véritables propriétaires). En effet, on ne va pas toucher aux structures car elles sont utilisées par les multinationales. Quant aux listes noires et grises de l'OCDE, elles existent depuis dix ans et ont beaucoup varié avec le temps sans jamais empêcher la croissance des paradis fiscaux.Only individuals will be affected by these measures, and even then, those who are not smart enough. The others will hide behind shell companies or trusts (Note: legal entities to conceal the true owners). Indeed, we won't even touch the structures themselves, since they are used by the multinational corporations. As for the black and grey lists of the OECD, they have existed for ten years and have varied over time but have never prevented the growth of tax havens.
Ces listes sont en plus le fruit de compromis entre Etats, et de nombreux paradis fiscaux y échappent.What's more, these lists are the result of compromise between states, and many tax havens are absent.

Several questions concern the EU and what it should be doing. It certainly should be Europe's job to clear out the tax havens, she says.

Peut-on venir à bout de la grande délinquance financière ? - Le monde bouge - Télérama.fr
Nous devrions bannir les paradis fiscaux de notre continent en imposant leur boycott absolu par les banques et les entreprises européennes. C'est ma position et c'est l'une des raisons pour lesquelles je me présente aux européennes. Comme citoyenne, j'ai épuisé toutes les possibilités dans ce combat. Il faut maintenant qu'il devienne un enjeu politique, un enjeu de société.We should banish tax havens from our continent by imposing their absolute boycott by banks and European companies. That is my position and that is one reason why I'm standing for the European elections. As a citizen, I have exhausted all possible recourse in this fight. It must now become a political issue, a social issue.

She points out that the EU has no public prosecution structure to raise the profile of the fight against international financial delinquency. This means that investigators are confined to their national territory, while financial crime is international. What should be done, she says, is to create a supranational judiciary, and she cites the example of the European Court of Human Rights - there should be a European court to judge cases of (her words translated literally) cross-border economic criminality.

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Since she returned to Norway, Eva Joly has set up, with the help of the Norwegian government, an informal international network of financial investigators called... the Network.

She is also currently advising the Icelandic government on investigations after the $100bn crash. She hopes to lead, with her team, the kind of investigation of international banking methods that, she says, countries like France and Britain refuse to do.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 06:51:34 AM EST
Until the 500 m citizens of the EU realize how democracy has been hi-jacked and why that is important to their lives, there is little hope for change, peace, fairness and justice.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 07:47:48 AM EST
Seconded.  Danke afew for bringing this (and her) to our attention.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 01:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She has been my heroine for years...
by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 01:52:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This means that investigators are confined to their national territory, while financial crime is international.

There is extensive cooperation between national investigators, furthered now within the framework of Eurojust's Joint Investigative Teams. It was no small wonder that during the Italian legislature of 2001-2006, the government sought to hamper Eurojust's activity.

While trans-national investigative co-ordination will strengthen over time, a "supranational judiciary" seems problematic.

As for the European Court of Human Rights, its rulings in the final analysis have to be received by the nation in question. Stalling to implement a European Court ruling comports penalities but that does not prevent a state from doing so for an indefinite period of time.

A European Criminal Court is a dream for now, a good one at that, but still.

Concerning tax havens an idea would be to put them under seige, cut off fundamental supplies and see what happens.

There are plenty of ploys to create new tax havens. Libya, for instance, is setting up a special statute zone for intensive investments, no questions asked. Illegality is always several steps ahead in the game.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 04:43:35 PM EST


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