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8. Financial crime and cyber crime

Financial crime refers to a range of different offences: corruption, money-laundering, social fraud and tax fraud. These offences share a common social logic: although they are widespread in our societies, directly threatening the economic equilibrium and democratic values, they are more or less concealed from the public, who appear to be indifferent to the millions of diverted euros, to this “victimless crime” and to “the State as virtual victim”.

A recent sociological analysis of criminal elites reveals the ambiguity of the social response: “the more tangible and significant the damage caused (especially if a person is harmed), the more serious an offence is seen to be. In contrast, offences with low (and in particular economic) impacts, or whose consequences are abstract (tax fraud) are always regarded as relatively minor.” The passivity or lack of empathy of the citizen can be explained by “the impersonality of the victims, which prevents any empathy”, in contrast to the Dutroux affair, but it is also due to the technical complexity of crimes of this type.

Corruption is accepting or offering personal gains, facilitated by holding a public or private position.

Money-laundering is the most serious financial crime, and ranges from tax fraud to organised drug trafficking. The aim is to profit from the proceeds of crime with impunity.

Social fraud mainly covers social dumping, undeclared work and fraudulent conduct with respect to social security (false NSSO declaration, false payslips, access to bank loans, family reunion, etc.). Because of this it is often linked to human trafficking and human smuggling, but it mainly harms the rights of employees and self-employed people and causes unfair competition.

Tax fraud consists of failure to respect income tax or VAT obligations. Other types of fraud also call for more investigation.

Cybercrime is the abusive use of automation and computerised data. It includes card payment fraud.