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Government lifts restriction on covert HMRC investigations

printer Mail

HMRC have been released from an undertaking restricting certain covert activity by the department’s criminal investigators, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury announced.

David Gauke said the undertaking was given after Sir Richard Scott found in the course of an inquiry, following the collapse in 1992 of the trial of Matrix Churchill, that HM Customs and Excise used a visit – ostensibly for a VAT audit – to see if the company was involved in the supply of components for weapons.

The undertaking was given by HMCE when there was no human rights compliant legislation allowing covert entry on to property. It has been ‘overtaken’ by the Police Act 1997 and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

‘But because HMRC continues to observe the Scott undertaking, legitimate investigation activity is not being used,’ Gauke said in a written ministerial statement. ‘HMRC will be released from the Scott undertaking from [5 September].’