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Vat fraud: Interdisciplinary Research on Tax crimes in the European Union
(Grant Agreement no: 878619)


VIRTEU Symposium – The Professionals: Dealing with the Enablers of Economic Crime
21st of July 2021, 3:15-7:00 pm (BST)



This Symposium aims at exploring the role of professionals as enablers of economic crime and conceiving possible solutions to address such a phenomenon. The event has been co-organized by the VIRTEU Special Adviser Prof. Diane M. Ring, the project Principal Investigator, Dr. Costantino Grasso, and the Co-Investigator, Dr. Lorenzo Pasculli.


The event will consist of the following three interconnected sessions: 

The first panel (The Phenomenon), will open the event exploring from a phenomenological perspective the various ways in which professionals (i.e., lawyers, accountants, auditors) may play a role in enabling or facilitating tax crimes and potentially interrelated corrupt practices. The panellists will focus on cases, scandals and practices related to both active involvement of professionals in criminal schemes and other relevant passive forms of behavior that facilitate tax crimes (such as turning a blind eye or adopting a laissez faire approach to illegal or unethical corporate practices).

• The second panel (The Causes), will build upon the themes and elements that emerged during the discussion of the first panel in order to explore relevant legal, regulatory, and moral dimensions of professional involvement in such questionable practices. The purpose of this discussion will be to approach the impact and influence of professional enablers from a theoretical rather than practical lens.

Finally, the third panel (The Solutions), will build upon the phenomenological and theoretical issues identified during the discussion of the first two panels, and will consider the measures currently in place to address such forms of illegal/unethical behaviours, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, before considering what improvements could be made to prevent the facilitation and enabling of tax crimes, and to increase rates of detection and successful prosecution of these behaviours.


3:15-3:20 pm (BST)



Dr. Costantino Grasso
Associate Professor in Business and Law at Manchester Law School

Costantino Grasso serves as Associate Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University.His areas of expertise are corporate and economic crime, corporate governance, and CSR. He is Transparency International's anti-corruption expert and serves as an international expert for several International Organizations (e.g., the Council of Europe, UNODC). He is the Principal Investigator of the EU-funded project VIRTEU, and the Editor-in-Chief of the CSR Blog

3:20-3:30 pm (BST)

Poster Presentation


Engin Erken and Stephen Holden
Ph.D. Candidates and VIRTEU Research Assistants

Engin Erken and Stephen Holden are Ph.D. candidates respectively at Coventry University and Manchester Metropolitan University. They serve as Research Assistants within the EU-funded project VIRTEU.

3:30-5:00 pm (BST)

Session 1: The Phenomenon 


Panel Chair: Prof. Diane M. Ring
Interim Dean and Professor of Law at Boston College Law School

Diane Ring currently serves as Interim Dean and Professor of Law at Boston College Law School. She researches and writes primarily in the field of corporate and international taxation, and ethical issues in tax practice. Her recent work addresses issues including information exchange, tax leaks, international tax relations, sharing economy and human equity transactions, and ethics in international tax. Diane has also served as a consultant for the United Nations.


Simon Bowers
Investigations Editor at Finance Uncovered

Simon joined Finance Uncovered as Investigations Editor in 2020 after four years as European Co-Ordinator at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Before that he spent 19 years at The Guardian in the UK, where he was a senior reporter working on tax and financial investigations. Simon’s reporting has featured in some of the world’s most prestigious news media.



John Christensen
Founder and Chair of the Board of Tax Justice Network

John Christensen headed the government economic service of the British Channel Island of Jersey from 1987 to 1998. Since 1978 he has been researching the role of tax havens in the global economy. He is the Founder and Chair of the Board of the global NGO Tax Justice Network. His most recent film - The Spider's Web: Britain's Second Empire (2017) - has been viewed by over two million people.


Antoine Deltour

Whistleblower and former Auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers

Antoine Deltour is the main whistleblower in the LuxLeaks case. He worked as an auditor for PwC Luxembourg from 2008 to 2010. Having faced criminal charges in Luxembourg and being convicted to a 12-months suspended sentence, following a successful appeal, in 2016 he was finally recognized as a whistleblower and acquitted. He is now working for the French statistics administration and is involved in several organizations protecting whistleblowers.


Richard Brooks
Investigative Journalist and Former Tax-Inspector

Richard Brooks worked as an investigative journalist with Private Eye in the UK for 16 years, covering government, public services, and financial crime. Formerly a UK tax inspector. Author of "Bean Counters: The Triumph of the Accountants and How They Broke Capitalism" (2018), an exposé of the accountants' professional misconduct, and The Great Tax Robbery (2013), an account of how the UK became a tax haven for the wealthy and large corporations.


Joshua B. Dugan

Assistant Attorney General, Taxpayer Protection Bureau, NYOAG

Joshua B. Dugan is an assistant attorney general in the New York State Office of the Attorney General, where he investigates and prosecutes fraud against the state and government agencies.  Before joining the Attorney General’s Office, Joshua spent eight years in private practice at an international law firm in New York, where he primarily represented clients in white-collar government investigations.


Jesse Eisinger

Senior Reporter & Editor, ProPublica

Jesse Eisinger is an American journalist and author, who currently works as a senior reporter for ProPublica. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2011 and published his first book, “The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives,” in 2017. In 2021 he co-authored the investigative report “The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax.”


Mary Inman

Lawyer and Partner, Constantine Cannon LLP

Mary Inman is a partner in Constantine Cannon’s London Office. She moved to London in 2017 to launch the firm’s international whistleblower practice. She specializes in representing whistleblowers worldwide under American reward programs. Her efforts on behalf of a UK whistleblower were featured in the New York Times, and her representation of the whistleblowers that exposed fraud in the US Medicare program was featured in the New Yorker.


Marco Letizi

Lieutenant Colonel of the Italian Guardia di Finanza (Tax Police)

Marco Letizi is a Lieutenant Colonel of the Italian Tax Police. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics, and is admitted to practice as a lawyer in Italy, as well as a public accountant and auditor. He serves as an Expert for the EU, Council of Europe and United Nations in the areas of AML, Tax Crimes, and Asset Recovery. His research also focuses on climate change, ESG legislation, green economy and green finance.


Charles Middleton

International Tax Lawyer and Whistleblower

Charles Middleton is an international tax lawyer in West Palm Beach FL with a practice focused on whistleblower advocacy and startups. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst charter holder. He led tax teams at GE, Caterpillar, Walmart and Oxbow for twenty years. At Walmart, Cat Financial and Oxbow, Charles was responsible for all tax planning globally. He filed allegations that one or more of his former employers engaged in improper practices.

5:00-6:00 pm (BST)

Session 2: The Causes 


Panel Chair: Prof. Andrew Francis
Professor of Law, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of Manchester Law School 

Prof. Andrew Francis serves as deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Manchester Metropolitan University and Head of Manchester Law School. His research interests lie in the regulation and organization of the legal profession, with particular interests in social mobility, legal education, and access to justice. His current work examines the interplay between professional and organisational change, with a particular focus on aging and generational change.


Dr. Aleksandra Jordanoska

Lecturer in Corporate Law, King's College London

Aleksandra Jordanoska is Lecturer in Corporate Law at King's College London and Acting Deputy Director of the Climate Law and Governance Centre. She specializes in regulatory enforcement in the financial services industry. Her work in this area is an interdisciplinary empirical research, drawing from the disciplines of regulation studies, financial markets regulation, criminology, criminal law, and sociology of law.


Prof. Daniel T. Ostas

Professor of Business Ethics and Legal Studies at the University of Oklahoma

Daniel T. Ostas is James G. Harlow, Jr. Chair in Business Ethics and Professor of Legal Studies at the University of Oklahoma. His research addresses the economics of marketplace ethics and the ethics of corporate legal strategy. An author of more than seventy scholarly works, including three books, he has received more than a dozen international research awards. His research has focused inter alia on corporate taxation, and law and ethics of lobbying.


Prof. Kelly Richmond Pope

Professor in Accountancy at DePaul University

Kelly Richmond Pope is a Professor in the School of Accountancy and MIS at DePaul University. She is specialized in the forensic accounting, anti-money laundering, insurance fraud investigations and fraud risk management. She directed the documentaries "Crossing the Line: Ordinary People Committing Extraordinary Crime" and "All the Queen's Horses." She serves on the governing council of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

6:00-7:00 pm (BST)

Session 3: The Solutions 


Panel Chair: Prof. Diane M. Ring
Interim Dean and Professor of Law at Boston College Law School

Diane Ring currently serves as Interim Dean and Professor of Law at Boston College Law School. She researches and writes primarily in the field of corporate and international taxation, and ethical issues in tax practice. Her recent work addresses issues including information exchange, tax leaks, international tax relations, sharing economy and human equity transactions, and ethics in international tax. Diane has also served as a consultant for the United Nations.


Prof. Linda Galler

Professor of Law at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law

Linda Galler is the Max Schmertz Distinguished Professor of Law at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. Professor Galler practices and has practiced tax law with several international law firms based in NYC.  She is the lead author of Regulation of Tax Practice (Carolina Academic Press).  Professor Galler has chaired the Standards of Tax Practice Committee of the ABA Tax Section.


Jonathan Goldsmith

Solicitor and Member of the Council of the Law Society

Jonathan Goldsmith is an English solicitor, member of the Council of the Law Society, and consultant in European and international legal services, working as an expert on numerous funded projects aimed at improving the administration of justice world-wide. From 2001 to 2015, he was the Secretary General of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), which represents over 1,000,000 European lawyers through its member bars and law societies.  


Henry J. Grzes
CPA Lead Manager, Tax Practice & Ethics - Public Accounting

Henry Grzes is part of the Tax Practice & Ethics team within the Tax Division of the AICPA. In addition to addressing the needs of members, he is the staff liaison to the AICPA’s Tax Practice Responsibilities Committee as well as their Statements on Standards for Tax Services (SSTSs) revision task force and their Circular 230 revision task forces. With almost forty years of experience in the profession, he brings significant tax expertise to the organization.


Paul D. Scott
Attorney and Founder of Law Offices of Paul D. Scott

Paul D. Scott is a former Trial Attorney with the Civil Fraud Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, who now represents private whistleblowers with claims under the False Claims Act, the Vehicle Safety Act, and the IRS, SEC, and CFTC  Whistleblower Programs.  In private practice, Mr. Scott has continued to work with staff in the U.S. Senate and the Executive Branch on the advancement of the foregoing programs..  


Frederica Wilson
Executive Director and Deputy CEO Federation of Law Societies of Canada

Frederica Wilson is the Executive Director, Policy and Public Affairs and Deputy CEO of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. She manages the Federation’s work on public policy issues, including those related to professional responsibility, lawyer mobility, and anti-money laundering. Frederica co-chairs the Federation’s AML/TF Working Group and the Federation – Government of Canada Working Group on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.


Simone Zancani
Lawyer and Vice-President of the Criminal Law Association of Venice

Simone Zancani is a criminal lawyer based in Venice. After graduation, he continued his studies in criminal law at the University of Padua, with particular regard to the influence of European Union law on criminal law. Author of essays and articles, he is a regular panelist at the seminars of the Italian Criminal Law Association. In his professional activity he regularly deals with transnational crimes.

VIRTEU Symposium - The Professionals - Session 1 (The Phenomenon)
VIRTEU Symposium - The Professionals - Session 2 (The Causes)
VIRTEU Symposium - The Professionals - Session 3 (The Solutions)
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