First of all I’d like to tell you about our determination to combat tax fraud. As you’ve said, this involves action at international level and at European level. That’s why, at tomorrow’s European Council, the French President will focus with the EU countries on achieving three goals: harmonized agreements on automatic information exchange within the European Union; the establishment of a list of non-cooperative countries and territories at European level; and the opportunity given to the European Union to negotiate agreements similar to the FATCA [Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act] with third countries.
If we manage to achieve these three goals, we’ll be exerting very strong pressure on fraudsters. In France, the law you referred to will increase the ability of the tax authorities and police judiciaire [criminal investigation department] to investigate and detect large-scale tax fraud. We’re going to coordinate our action with the courts to ensure that people found guilty of large-scale tax fraud are more severely punished, with prison terms of up to seven years and fines of €2 million.
Finally, we’re asking those who commit fraud to comply with the law – not by going to cells created for that purpose, where they’re granted particularly advantageous conditions, but by going to the tax authorities, under common law conditions, so that the penalties and interest that must be applied to people who have committed fraud can be applied to them, because fraudsters can’t be rewarded.
You’ll ask me how going to the tax authorities can be in their interest. It will be in their interest to go because the toughening of the legislation we’re going to proceed with will expose them to risks of punishment they weren’t previously exposed to, which should lead them to comply with the law. As you said, there’s no reason why ordinary French people should pay taxes while others escape them, in a period of recovery./.