12th January 2017
The clampdown on tax evasion has, in the past, had some rather bizarre examples (just check out our blog on Santa getting caught red-handed, for example) but the latest report perhaps tops those we’ve already shared.
Chairs versus Tax Evasion
In France, objections against BNP, one of the world’s largest banks, have seen protests from a variety of activists including former politicians, as well as the theft of chairs. No you didn’t misread that last point, furniture was stolen as part of a stand against tax evasion – a story that has now escalated as the trial of those involved takes place.
Back in late 2015, Jon Palais and several other environmental activists stole 200 chairs from dozens of BNP branches ahead of the Paris Climate Summit in a statement designed to highlight that the global warming fight could be funded by the finances reclaimed from tax evasion practices. BNP was specifically targeted for this action following leaked documents which suggested the bank’s involvement in widespread tax fraud.
The chairs were finally left outside the Paris Court of Justice in early 2016 during the trial of the disgraced former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac who was jailed for tax fraud.
As a result of this action – and despite the chairs being returned – Palais now faces a jail term of up to five years and a possible fine of 75,000 euros (though BNP has allegedly asked for a symbolic compensation of one euro).
With this trial kicking off, there have understandably been further protests across Paris with activists including Green Party presidential candidate Yannick Jadot and former presidential candidate Eva Joly joining the crowds calling for Palais’ release.
A vested interest in fraud
While this example is certainly an unusual one, it does demonstrate another threat those evading correct tax payments face: global activists. On top of local authorities targeting wrong-doers, the growing interest from protestors in those involved in tax fraud will only lead to further headaches for individuals and businesses alike.
For contractors working around the globe, it’s vital that you remain compliant in your chosen location and country of residence, but processes can be complex at best. Speak to the team today to find out how we can help you avoid hefty fines, potential jail terms and maybe even the odd chair theft!