Skip to main content
VIRTEU: Vat fraud: Interdisciplinary Research on Tax crimes in the European Union (Grant Agreement no: 878619)

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


European Union - European Commission’s Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) 

Lead Academics

Dr Costantino Grasso (Principal Investigator); Dr Lorenzo Pasculli (Co-Investigator); Cpt Engin Erken (Research Assistant); Ms Mairi Laird (Research Assistant).


1st April 2020 – 30th April 2021



Impact Partners

Constantine Cannon LLP; Spotlight on Corruption; Tax Justice Network

Project Objectives

VIRTEU aims at exploring the interconnections between tax crimes and corruption so to unravel the intimate relationships that exist between fraudulent and corrupt practices in the area of taxation with a focus on VAT fraud, which poses a direct threat to the European Union's financial interests.

Impact Statement

VIRTEU will deliver the following results:

  1. New skills and specialised knowledge of tax crimes and related corrupt practices
  2. Innovative methodologies and techniques tailored to different tax administration contexts
  3. Increased awareness of tax fraud schemes and corrupt practices
  4. Exchanging experience and best practices between relevant stakeholders

Thanks to the achievement of such objectives, VIRTEU will significantly contribute to mitigating the adverse effects of tax crimes and tax corruption within the EU at both the supranational and domestic level.


  • An e-technical paper
  • 6 scientific blog posts
  • 2 peer-reviewed articles
  • an edited collection of scientific chapters
  • 2 international workshops
  • an international conference

Additional Information

Tax corruption is a subtle, pervasive, and dangerous criminal phenomenon, whose dynamics are still obscure and that has not been yet systematically explored. The research will explore the articulation between the six main types of actions that may be adopted in the fight against tax crimes: prevention, investigations, enforcement, sanctions, recoveries, and remedies. The research will also include a critical analysis of the following select topics: nature and adequacy of sanctions, corporate liability regime, settlement procedures and diversion tools, ne bis in idem, and whistleblowing. As regards its geographic scope, VIRTEU will focus on six different jurisdictions that will be a representative sample of the EU Member States: Bulgaria, Denmark, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom.

The project enjoys the support of an advisory board composed of high-level academics.

  • Professor Umut Tuksen: Professor in Law at Coventry University and Principal, Investigator of PROTAX (H2020 project no. 787098);
  • Professor Brigitte Unger: Professor of Finance at Utrecht University and Principal Investigator of COFFERS (H2020 project no. 727145);
  • Professor Nicholas Ryder: Professor in Financial Crime, UWE Bristol;
  • Professor Ufuk Misirlioglu: Director of MSc in Forensic Accounting, UWE Bristol.

VIRTEU research activities will be also supported by a terrific group of academics identified among leading experts in each specific area of knowledge: 

VIRTEU Special Advisers

  • Corporate Crime: Jennifer Arlen, Professor of Law, New York University, USA
  • Economics of Corruption: Tina Søreide, Professor of Law and Economics, Norwegian School of Economics, Norwey
  • Ethical Issues in Taxation: Diane M. Ring, Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Faculty, Boston College, USA

VIRTEU Leading Area Experts

  • Criminology: Nikos Passas, Professor of Criminology at Northeastern University, Boston, USA
  • European Union Criminal Law: Stefano Manacorda, Professor of Criminal Law at University L. Vanvitelli, Italy
  • Forensic Accounting: Atul K. Shah, Professor of accounting and finance at City University, London, UK

VIRTEU Leading National Experts

  • Bulgaria: Ruslan Stefanov, Director of the Economic Program at the Center for the Study of Democracy
  • Denmark: Karina Kim Egholm Elgaard, Associate Professor in VAT and Tax Law at the University of Copenhagen
  • Greece: Vasileios Petropoulos, Visiting Professor at Neapolis University Pafos
  • Italy: Antonio Gullo, Professor of Criminal Law at the University LUISS Guido Carli
  • The Netherlands: Joseph A. McCahery, Professor of International Economic Law at Tilburg University

United Kingdom: Branislav Hock, Senior Lecturer in Economic Crime at the University of Portsmouth

OLAF - European Anti-Fraud Office logo.

European Commission logo.

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023