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HMRC internal manual

Specialist Investigations Operational Guidance

Investigation work: confidentiality: confidentiality and third parties

When we interview or seek information from a third party we have to ask questions or say what information or documents we want.

The third party may form an idea from these questions of who is the subject of our investigation and what some of our areas of concern are.

This is not a breach of the rules of confidentiality. We have to be able to ask third parties about specific matters so long as it is in the execution of our duties. The execution of our duties must be interpreted narrowly. For example we may ask a customer to show us all invoices received from a particular supplier in a defined period. The third party may well suspect that we are investigating the supplier and that we have concerns about invoices issued. We should not confirm the third parties suspicions unless it is essential in the execution of our duties so to do.