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Mirror Conference: Illicit financial flows and underground economy in developing and developed countries

Conference organised by the Research Institute for Work and Society (HIVA) of the Catholic University of Leuven for and in collaboration with the BeFinD project supported by VLIR-UOS, ARES-CCD and the Belgian Development Cooperation.
When May 22, 2017 08:30 AM to
May 23, 2017 04:30 PM
Where Irish College, Leuven
Attendees The conference brings together national and international experts of the academic world, international organisations, NGOs, administrations and policy makers.
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Aim of the mirror conference

The BeFinD project aims at mobilising funds for development in the partner countries of Belgium for development cooperation. One of the aims is combatting fraud and tax avoidance, which could mobilise internal funds and avoid illicit financial flows out of developing countries.

HIVA has been assessing this potential in the partner countries of Belgium. This is in line with a growing interest at international level. It is not only a problem for developing countries but also at national and European level we are confronted with the problem.

Forty years of research could not reveal much progress in defining nor estimating the dark figure of the size of undeclared activities, missing taxes and contributions and unhidden wealth. Neither is there a clear view on the efforts combatting fraud and the returns of it. Nevertheless there is a growing consensus that the fight against fraud and illicit financial flows is a necessary strategy to cope with growing budget¬ary needs and create or restore more justice in the tax system. There is a growing list of initiatives at national, European and international level. This conference will provide for a mostly national but also international audience of researchers, policy makers and administrations and NGO’s stock taking of the available evidence. To verify whether progress has or has not been made in the analysis and the real fight against fraud.

Tales of two worlds

From the very beginning of the BeFinD project we started the description of problems, methodologies, international sources and results from as well the developing countries as for Belgium and the Benelux. But it is a global problem. It is remarkable that sources, methodologies, results and policies are more and more generic for developing countries as for developed countries. It is no coincidence that institutions, stakeholders and researchers are interested or engaged in both fields.

At this mirror conference we bring together researchers and institutions involved in one of those or both parts of our global problem of the fight against fraud and tax avoidance.

The proper fight starts with identifying and measuring this fraud and avoidance. The conference on the size and scope of the illicit financial flows and the underground economy in devel¬oping countries, the partner countries of Belgium and others, is organised within the context of the BeFinD project and directly inspired by it.

The conference day on Europe and the Benelux is inspired by the previous and ongoing interest of HIVA that illustrates how social and fiscal fraud and tax avoidance are a threat for the welfare state.

The conference brings together national and international experts of the academic world, international organisations, NGO’s and policy makers to discuss the national and international evidence. It wants to bridge the gap between two tales of different or just one world, by providing information on conceptual and methodological aspects, empirical evidence and an up-to-date societal and political debate.


The Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe
Janseniusstraat 1
B-3000 Leuven


The two days of the conference are defined separately, although they want to mirror each other. The first day is organised for and financially supported by the BeFind project of VLIR-UOS, ARES – CCD and the Belgian Development Cooperation. The second day is organised by HIVA on its own initiative. You can participate in one or both of those days.


Conference language

The conference language is English.

Conference fee

  • First day (22/05/2017): EUR 60
  • Second day (23/05/2017): EUR 60

The conference fee covers the costs of organisation, documentation files, lunches and refreshments during break periods.

Conference dinner

22 May 2017: EUR 65


To registrate, click here.
Registration before 15 May 2017 is necessary and is only valid after payment has been received.
When registration is received, the conference secretariat will send each participant an invoice for the conference fee (and conference dinner). This invoice is at the same time a confirmation of your registration.


The conference secretariat must be notified in writing of cancellation of registration. No refunds provided if cancellations are made after 15 May 2017.

Organisation and contact


Inge Vanderwaeren, • email:
Tel. +32 (0)16 32 31 35

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