“Nobody is too big to be raided by tax inspectors.”
This is according to Aziz Rahman, Senior Partner at serious and corporate crime defence specialists Rahman Ravelli, whose comments came shortly after officials in France and Spain raided two of Google’s offices in quick succession.
The technology giant’s Paris base was targeted by French officials in May, and this was followed up with a raid of its Spanish HQ in central Madrid just over a month later.
Mr Rahman said the high-profile investigations should come as a warning that no organisations are too big or influential to be suspected of serious business crime.
“The fact that Google has been raided twice in the space of a few weeks shows that the authorities aren’t intimidated by huge corporate entities with vast resources. If a business of this size can be thrust under the spotlight, it can happen to anyone,” he commented.
Mr Rahman also suggested that this is an opportune time for businesses to not only ensure that they’re legally compliant, but also to familiarise themselves with the laws surrounding police raids.
Most search warrants are issued under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) or under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, and there are a number of stipulations that must be followed. If those initiating the raid fail to adhere to these terms, a warrant may be quashed and seized property returned.
To ensure that people know their rights, Rahman Ravelli has offered some detailed expert advice in its latest eBook, which you can read here.
Mr Rahman added that although not all errors by prosecutors will lead to a search warrant being quashed, judges tend to “come down heavily” on the prosecution if they have presented misleading information.
“Some believe that s59 of the 2001 Act makes it pointless to challenge search warrants, but our own experience tells us that this isn’t the case. Whether you’re a giant like Google or an individual who has been unjustly accused of wrongdoing, knowing about the legalities that are attached to warrants can give you the best chance of mounting the strongest defence if charges follow,” he remarked.