Financial crimes, including corruption, tax fraud and money laundering, are a threat to all countries, both developing and developed. The sums are vast. Estimates have put total proceeds from all illicit activities at 3.6% of global GDP. Recognizing the importance of the issue, G20 leaders and Finance Ministers have consistently urged all jurisdictions to work together to control this threat, to adhere to the international tax, prudential and anti-money laundering standards and have mandated OECD to help improve inter-agency co-operation in the fight against illicit activities.
In response to this call, and building on the first global event on tax and crime held in Oslo last year,senior officials from almost 60 countries - tax administrations, finance and justice ministries, financial intelligence units and central banks - as well as the World Bank, the IMF, the FATF and the United Nations; non-governmental organisations, including Transparency International and Global Financial Integrity; and the private sector, have come together in Rome to discuss an ambitious agenda and map out a plan to fight financial crime more effectively using a whole of government approach.
Opening the event OECD Deputy Secretary-General Richard Boucher, said "The crisis has led to a loss of trust and confidence. In occupy wall street, the Arab Spring, and demonstrations in a number of countries people complain that the system protects privilege and lacks transparency. Coherent, co-ordinated and effective action to fight corruption, money laundering, tax crimes and other illicit flows and to promote integrity and transparency is now crucial to restore citizens confidence.” Read Mr. Boucher's speech.
In support of the discussions in Rome, two reports have been released today. Effective Inter-Agency Co-operation in Fighting Tax Crimes and Other Financial Crimes, is the first in-depth study of domestic inter-agency co-operation in over 30 countries. It identifies current challenges and recommends ways to improve inter-agency co-operation. The Catalogue of Instruments for International Co-operation Against Tax Crimes and other Financial Crimes provides, for the first time, a holistic view across instruments for international co-operation in tax, corruption, supervision, money-laundering, and other areas of mutual legal assistance.
Recognising that not all jurisdictions, particularly developing countries, have the investigative skills necessary for successful criminal tax investigations, participants will also discuss the launch of a pilot training programme with the aim of establishing an international academy on criminal tax investigations.