On July 22, 2018, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria and Argentina’s Minister of Treasury Nicolás Dujovne presided over a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a center of the OECD Academy for Tax and Financial Crime Investigation in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The signing occurred in the margins of the meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governments. The center will be housed in the facilities of Argentina’s Federal Administration of Public Revenues. Argentina’s Commissioner of Public Revenues Leandro Cuccioli and the OECD’s Director of the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration Pascal Saint-Amans signed the MOU.
The Academy will provide intensive capacity-building courses targeting tax crime investigators and other related law enforcement officials, including prosecutors, anti-money laundering and anti-corruption officials, especially from Latin America countries. The courses will aim to support tax crime investigators. It will feature broad-based courses on conducting and managing financial investigations as well as giving courses on specific types of tax and financial crimes, such as those associated with crypto-currencies, money laundering and VAT fraud.
The creation of the OECD Latin America Academy builds on the success of the original centre hosted by the Guardia de Finanza in Ostia, Italy, and a pilot Africa Academy for Tax and Financial Crime Investigation started by the OECD, Kenya, Italy and Germany at the G20 Africa Partnership conference in June 2017. Together, the centers have trained more than 550 financial investigators from over 80 countries.
The first program of the OECD Latin America Academy will occur in late 2018 and will focus on VAT/GST Fraud.
The 2019 Academy schedule for Latin America will include a program, concentrating on Conducting and Managing Financial Investigations. The program will include subject areas such as: bribery and corruption; beneficial ownership and offshore structures; money laundering; investigative techniques; international cooperation; and asset recovery.
With globalization the ways for individuals and entities to evade and avoid tax have expanded significantly. Just as importantly, the international mechanisms to prevent and combat tax evasion and avoidance, such as BEPS and its components, such as Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent BEPS, Country-by-Country reporting, the different types of exchange of information, the interplay between anti-money laundering, transnational corruption, and tax issues all require initial and ongoing training. The OECD Academies will help train tax officials at different levels. The nature of the training illustrates the increasing convergence between international tax enforcement and other international white collar enforcement. For more discussion of this development, stay tuned for the August issue of the International Enforcement Law Reporter.