White collar crimes
Cases of financial crime are usually crimes related to business activities, they include several different types of crime, for example false accounting, fraud, tax evasion, misappropriation and fraudulent bankruptcy. These crimes are generally uncovered by investigations by the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket), which has a far-reaching obligation to report suspected crimes to the public prosecutor.
Our business and expertise include acting as defence lawyers, something that our attorney Klas Johansson has a great deal of experience with. Investigations and trials of financial crimes require defence lawyers with knowledge of accounting, company law and tax law.
We advise on these matters, and if you run a business and the Swedish Tax Agency initiates an audit or investigation of your company, you should take advice. There is a serious risk that the Swedish Tax Agency will report a crime, and you are less likely to be at a disadvantage in your dealings with the Swedish Tax Agency if you have a professional sounding board at an early stage.
Many financial crimes are discovered by investigations at the Swedish Tax Agency. They report suspected crimes to the public prosecutor. The public prosecutor carries out a preliminary investigation and it is mainly the police in the National Economic Crimes Bureau who investigate what happened by way of interviews, examining the documentation and the accounts etc. A preliminary investigation can lead the public prosecutor to take the view that the evidence is strong enough to decide to prosecute a person, and in that case there will be a trial at the district court. The role of the district court is to rule on the case and decide whether the public prosecutor’s evidence is strong enough to judge the person to be guilty of the alleged crime. A judgement may include, among other things, fines, a suspended sentence, community service or prison.
If you are someone suspected of a crime, you are called the defendant. As the defendant, you usually have the right to a public defender. The public defender must be present during the hearing and any main proceedings in the district court. The public defender must ensure that everything is done properly, must accompany the defendant during the hearing and then conduct the case in court. In most cases, the public defender is paid for by the state.
If you run a business you are also liable for the accounts, this applies to all companies. If you are a sole trader, you have personal liability to ensure that the accounts are managed in accordance with the Accounting Act (bokföringslagen). The fact that you employ someone to take care of your accounts is irrelevant, you are responsible for ensuring that the accounts are done correctly. You cannot transfer responsibility to someone else. Therefore, if you outsource your accounts, make sure it is to someone who really has the appropriate qualifications and skills. If you do not understand anything, ask for an explanation.
The accounting liability includes keeping records of all business events, ensuring that there are supporting documents for all accounting entries, archiving accounting information in an orderly manner and in a safe place within the country for at least seven years and establishing annual accounts or an annual report. Make sure you keep up to date with all the paperwork in your company right from the start.