Exclusive: France sets up a special service in Bercy to investigate Jews

Home"TO THE ONE"Exclusive: France sets up a special service in Bercy to investigate Jews
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The secret department has 20 Hebrew speaking employees and hires five others to investigate tax evasion.

In the 12th arrondissement of Paris, on the rue Bercy, on the banks of the Seine, on the 13th floor of the Ministry of Finance is the headquarters of the French tax authorities. Something has recently happened there that may upset the French Jews and frighten their relations with the country in which they live. Under the radar, a secret department was created for the sole purpose of managing the tax evasion of French Jews. "Globes" may reveal for the first time the details of the secret department targeting Jews in France and new immigrants from France to Israel. Sources inform "Globes" that last year, the tax administration of the Fifth Republic created a special department to treat French Jews. The ministry currently has 20 Hebrew speaking employees and is hiring five more. This extraordinary department is unique. Tax authorities usually do not organize departments targeting a specific nationality or religion. The action is astonishing, especially when the country concerned is France, which is constitutionally defined as a secular republic that refrains from "marking" people according to their religion. Tax authorities around the world are establishing teams to deal with sectors whose tax returns are questionable. They target a specific market when there is reason to fear that it contains a large amount of undeclared capital, such as the real estate market or the diamond market. The creation of a specific department dealing with a designated nationality or religion is, however, not an accepted practice.

The only "department" ostensibly close to this French secret department is a new department established at the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to handle cases of Israelis, American Americans and Americans with assets and money in Israel. This US department, however, comes from the FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) signed by Israel and the United States, in which huge amounts of information are transferred by countries about their taxpayers, and someone must manage this information. This was not the purpose for which the department was set up in the French tax authority.

The French department was created to handle French Jewish tax evaders, and hired employees with professional experience and a deep understanding of Israeli law to examine whether Jews were using these laws to evade taxes in France. The aim of the department is to attract French tax evaders using Israel as a tax shelter.

Examine real estate offers

An international tax lawyer who is familiar with the secret department says: "It is very, very irregular to hire 20 Hebrew-speaking employees, or any other language, in a foreign tax administration. Most tax authorities have one or two Hebrew ... There are English or French speaking employees in Israel to sign agreements and maintain relations with the tax authorities of other countries. All tax authorities have employees speaking a foreign language, but they hire at least 20 Hebrew speaking investigators. is very irregular. "

The lawyer adds that he learned from his knowledge of the department and his employees that some of the hired employees were living in Israel. "They hired Hebrew-speaking Frenchmen, some of whom had previously lived in Israel and returned to France," he told "Globes".

According to the information obtained by "Globes", as part of the activity of the department, its employees take extracts from the land register in Israel to review contracts in Israel and to reach French residents who have acquired properties here . The investigators mapped the main streets of various cities in Israel, including Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Ra'anana, Netanya and Jerusalem, where many purchases were made by Jewish residents of France. They obtained extracts from the land register and examined the details of a transaction to detect foreign passport numbers. The investigators crossed the information with the information contained in their databases and the reports of the French Jews on their property and their income. In cases where it was found that the person did not report property he purchased in Israel, he was also summoned for questioning.

Sources inform "Globes" that a French Jew recently went to the secret department for an "audit" without knowing exactly what was to be discussed. For security reasons, he took his lawyer with him - a fact that proved extremely important to him. During the discussion of his statements of his property and funds, the questioners very quickly presented an extract from the land register including all the housing of the French Jewish client in Israel. The discussion took place and, in the end, the lawyer wondered in what frame the new investigation was taking place. A seemingly innocent conversation in the hallway with one of the investigators revealed the incredible fact that a special department was dealing with French Jews and their tax evasion.

Targeting immigrants to Israel from France

By the special division, in addition to mapping the properties of the French in Israel, the tax authority in France began direct interrogations of Jewish residents of France who are immigrating to Israel, and to examine whether they own money or assets they did not declare previously, and if that's the reason they decided to immigrate to Israel.

According to figures from the Israeli Ministry of Immigration and Absorption, immigration from France has increased considerably in recent years. 1,211 new immigrants arrived in Israel from France in the first half of 2017. A study conducted at Bar-Ilan University showed that the economic impact for the Israeli economy of the absorption of Jews from France would reach 65 billion dollars . The study assumes that 100,000 immigrants will arrive from France by 2026.

These numbers do not surprise anyone. We have been talking for years about massive purchases of properties in Israel by immigrants and others not. A number of international investigations have been opened against French people suspected of tax evasion and tax evasion in France and money laundering. in Israel through real estate purchases. These developments have apparently attracted the attention of the French tax administration, which has decided to target French Jews.

The sources also said "Globes" that the French tax authority is one of the main tax authorities that contacts the Israeli Tax Authority to obtain information on French residents with unusually large assets in Israel, compared to other countries, but many applications are rejected. "They call the Israeli Tax Authority almost every day with requests for information about one person or another, but many applications are rejected because they do not comply with the terms of the information exchange agreements. a source involved in the exchange of information between the two countries.

The French Embassy in Israel said: "In the fight against tax evasion, the French authorities are investigating individual cases in accordance with international agreements, but the French authorities deny the existence of a special department. It is extremely important to say that the things that have been written are wrong.

"Taxes in France are calculated according to the risks, so there is no link with the national affiliation or the ethnic origin of the taxpayers: next year, automatic exchanges of information are planned between the member countries of the OECD.

Posted by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com 28 December 2017

© Copyright Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017

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