Who we are: objectives and investigative activities
The Guardia di Finanza is a military Police Force reporting directly to the Minister of Economy and Finance, with general economic and financial crime-fighting competences.
The institutional mission of the Corps, in line with the indications of the Government Authority, is now divided into three strategic objectives, concerning:
- combating tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax fraud, by carrying out tax audits and controls and judicial police investigations focused on the phenomena most damaging to the budgets of the European Union, the State, the regions and local authorities, such as tax fraud, with particular regard to VAT and excise duties, undeclared work, international tax evasion, the black economy, tax avoidance, with particular reference to aggressive tax planning, violations in the customs sector, with specific attention to smuggling also of tobaccos, and public gaming;
- the fight against public expenditure offences, which covers all interventions, judicial police investigations and other checks aimed at preventing and prosecuting cases of misappropriation and embezzlement of State, regional, local and European Union budgets, as well as cases likely to cause damage to the budget and conduct constituting offences against the Public Administration;
- combating economic and financial crime, through asset verifications, anti-money laundering checks and inspections, in-depth investigations of suspicious transaction reports aimed at preventing and combating money laundering and terrorist financing, and controls on cross-border currency movements, actions to protect the circulation of the euro and other means of payment, action against counterfeiting, audiovisual piracy and the sale of unsafe and dangerous products, and investigations into corporate, bankruptcy and financial offences, also with a view to ascertaining any liability of companies and entities under Legislative Decree no. 231/2001.
These strategic objectives are complemented by a structural one – so defined given the fact that it represents the functions permanently entrusted to the Corps as criminal police body with general competence, and Police Force member of the system regulated by Law no. 121 dated 1st April 1981 – in relation to the contribution to the Country’s internal and external security.
The Guardia di Finanza is also part of the integrated system of Armed Forces of the State and, based on Law no. 189 dated 23 April 1959, and the already mentioned Leg. decree no. 68 dated 2001, it contributes to political and military defence of borders, military operations in case of war and military missions abroad. In this context, with Law no. 79 dated June 2010, the role of the Liaison Officer with the Ministry of Defence was established, based in the joint operations headquarter (Comando Operativo di Vertice Interforze).
With this in mind, with the recent Leg. Decree no. 177, dated 19 August 2016, the Corps was entrusted responsibility for the specialty divisions “Sea Security” and “Security in relation to euro circulation and of other payment means” and the responsibility for the functions previously carried out by the State Corps of Forest Rangers to counter illegal trade of protected plants and animals in customs spaces, mountain rescue and supervision of sea waters bordering with protected natural areas.
To pursue its mission, the Guardia di Finanza has the criminal police powers exercisable for any type of offence and ample administrative powers to carry out inspections and controls autonomously in all the competence sectors strategically deployed through pre-established operational plans and the investigation activity.