As of September 1st 2016, a newly established special department, dedicated solely to white collar crimes, has commenced its work within the Hungarian Metropolitan Public Prosecution Office (Fővárosi Főügyészség).
The aptly named Economic and Business-related Crime Department is responsible for a plethora of activities, including: the monitoring of investigations, the preparation for prosecution and obviously for indictment, as it pertains to typically perpetrated white collar crimes. These crimes cover; inter alia, tax fraud, money laundering, mismanagement and misappropriation of funds, bankruptcy crimes and other economic or business-related crimes.
Upon uncovering white collar crimes, the Hungarian Public Prosecution Office had been unable to provide sufficient statistical information, hence resulting in the establishment of this special department. Taking Budapest into consideration, approximately 100,000 crimes are committed each year, of which white collar crimes constitute a mere few (i.e. the ones which are uncovered). It is indisputable that these acts (compared to any other type of crime) generally affect a great deal of victims, while simultaneously causing major financial damage. Therefore, the quick and effective unveiling of these acts by the authorities is a most desirable reality. However, it is undoubtedly acknowledged that not only the quantity, but also the scale of these acts remain hidden from the authorities. Investigations into white collar crimes usually last for ages, during which a smart(er) white collar criminal can disappear off the grid.
Investigations related to economic and business-related crimes, based on procedural law provisions, are usually carried out by the crime investigative unit of the tax authority (National Tax and Customs Administration of Hungary) and not by the police. This is due to the mere fact that the investigator must have tax, financial and business background knowledge in order to carry out a successful investigation. Taking all of this into consideration, the need not only for specialized investigations, but for a specialized department for prosecution becomes evident.
Currently, the manner in which the department will meet the general expectations in expediting investigations and prosecutions linked to white collar crimes has yet to be determined. Hopefully, this department will be more successful than that of corruption, which despite its catchy name, has proven to be ineffective in practice. Still, the establishment of a white collar crime department can be considered a positive step towards making these procedures more effective.
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