Where CDF offer is made 30 June 2014 onwards: the initial meeting: additional unexpected disclosure of fraud made at a meeting
There will be occasions during a meeting where the customer wants to tell you about a fraud that has not been disclosed previously. You should also bear in mind that this might be the first time that the customer’s agent is hearing about this.
As the fraud that the customer wants to tell you about was not disclosed in the Outline Disclosure, it will probably fall outside HMRC’s undertaking not to criminally investigate. You will therefore need to consider the possibility that FIS (Crime) will be prepared to investigate it.
You must be careful not to prejudice a possible criminal investigation. On the other hand, you will need to obtain enough information to make a referral to FIS (Crime) worthwhile. In particular, you will need to have some idea of the nature and scale of the fraud, and whether it is connected in any way to the frauds disclosed in the Outline Disclosures.
If you are not sure how best to proceed you may decide to adjourn the meeting whilst you seek advice by ringing the office to speak to your manager or a more experienced colleague. You should not hesitate to ask for an adjournment if you feel that this is necessary.
This may be the first time the agent has heard this disclosure and they might seek an adjournment. If this happens, you must agree to their request. The customer is attending your meeting voluntarily and is free to leave or ask for a break at any stage.
If you decide to continue the meeting you should proceed as follows:
- Make it clear that you are a civil investigator and you are not charged with a duty to investigate criminal conduct.
- HMRC has the option of conducting a criminal investigation of this new disclosure with a view to prosecution. However, this is not a decision that you can make or be party to. This is a decision for FIS (Crime).
(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)