Investigation Of Russo-West Illicit Transactions: The Issues Of Financial Information Confidentiality And Legitimate Expectations

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Wednesday, September 1, 1999
Timur Sinuraya
: Between 1993-1997, under the pre-text of the "Russian Mafia" threat, the Dutch police’s special Eastern European crime task force tried to accomplish the so called “inventarization” (taking inventory) of the economic presence of Russians in the Netherlands. The wide range of measures taken by the Dutch police included screening of real estate registries, chamber of commerce records, bank accounts, securities transactions and so on. The goal was to ultimately focus on the most suspicious Russo-Dutch transactions. However, the results were insufficient due mainly to legal barriers which disallowed indiscriminate investigations without pending judicial proceedings. Similarly, a request from the Economic Crime Department of the Russian Ministry of the Interior (MVD) to produce a list with all the bank account numbers of Russian citizens in the Netherlands was rejected by the Dutch financial police on the grounds of the privacy of financial information. The instances mentioned above are an example of the failure of action that occurs without the appropriate proceedings that justify the asset tracing activities related to suspected illicit Russo-West transactions. This article will briefly overview the options which prosecutors, judges and investigators have in dealing with the problems, including the confidentiality of financial information, of investigating illicit Russo-West transactions... [more]