EP supports SP in fight against acquisition fraud

26 September 2013

EP supports SP in fight against acquisition fraud

This morning the Internal Market Committee of the European Parliament voted unanimously to back the report by SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong, thereby signing up to the fight against acquisition fraud. ‘This week thousands more firms will have received a fake bill for as much as €960 for the registration of their patents,’ De Jong explains. ‘Thanks to initiatives such as the fraud hotline, a lot of people will know that the bill is fake. But often things go wrong. With this report we’re making a sound attempt at European level to put an end to these forms of deception, for example by setting up a hotline of this kind in every country.’

The report, however, goes much further, and by backing it the EP expressed its support for a blacklist of culprit businesses as well as the most commonly occurring illegal practices. Abusive companies will be excluded from receiving subsidies. Also important is the possibility of constructing a collective picture of the situation. ‘As things stand there are often no legal proceedings brought because the sums involved are too small, yet added together they quickly reach into the millions,’ De Jong points out. ‘This measure would increase the chance that the perpetrators would actually be caught.’ Finally, De Jong proposes the drawing up of agreements on national guidelines on prosecution in order to give greater priority to tackling acquisition fraud on the part of the police and public prosecutors.

In Parliament the SP has worked hard on an initiative law presented together with MPs from the governing centre-right party the VVD on a measure to tackle acquisition fraud in the Netherlands, including by making it a specific criminal offence. ‘It is, however, also important that action is taken at European level,’ argues De Jong. ‘A lot of these companies operate from other member states, so cooperation is crucial if they are to be tackled. With so much support from the European Parliament the member states and the Commission can’t any longer beat around the bush.’

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