08/10/2009 - Money laundering is a serious threat to the legal economy and affects the integrity of financial institutions. If left unchecked, it will corrupt society as a whole. The OECD has just released a handbook to help tax administrations detect and deter money laundering.
Criminals accumulate significant sums of money by committing crimes such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, theft, investment fraud, extortion, corruption, embezzlement and tax fraud. There are substantial similarities between the techniques used to launder the proceeds of crimes and to commit tax crimes. Tax crimes may also indicate that money laundering is taking place.
As far back as May 1998 the G7 Finance Ministers encouraged international action to enhance the capacity of anti-money laundering systems to deal effectively with tax related crimes, which would also increase the effectiveness of tax information exchange arrangements. More recently the G20 Leaders have called for further efforts in combating illicit financing, and acknowledged the progress being made by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in improving the standards for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism and by the OECD on international standards of tax transparency.
The Money Laundering Awareness Handbook for Tax Examiners and Tax Auditors provides guidance in identifying money laundering during the conduct of normal tax audits, and describes the nature of money laundering activities so that tax examiners and auditors can better understand how their contribution can assist criminal investigators in countering money laundering.