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Elomaa v Finland

International: Fraud

In Elomaa v Finland (ECHR – 13 April) a Finnish citizen (E) lived in Sweden. He was convicted of aggravated tax fraud and sentenced to five years' imprisonment. He failed to pay the outstanding tax and the Swedish authorities requested the assistance of the Finnish authorities. The Finnish authorities distrained a Mercedes car. E was subsequently convicted of fraud in Finland and sentenced to a further 19 months' imprisonment. E applied to the ECHR contending that the investigation by the Finnish authorities had contravened Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The ECHR rejected this contention and dismissed the application holding that there had been no breach of the principle against self-incrimination.

Why it matters: In cases of 'aggravated tax fraud' the ECHR is likely to take a realistic view of the tax authority's need to carry out an effective investigation.

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