Remarks by Ángel Gurría
8 June 2019 - Fukuoka, Japan
(as prepared for delivery)
Dear Deputy Prime Minister, Commissioner, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honour to be here today alongside Minister Aso and Commissioner Fujii to officially launch a new centre of the OECD Academy for Tax and Financial Crime Investigation in Japan.
Tax and financial crime undermines the rule of law, our tax systems and our global economy. The billions lost to illicit financial flows, including tax evasion, money laundering, bribery and corruption, are a major obstacle for sustainable development that hamper the crucially required mobilization of domestic resources, particularly in developing countries. These missing revenues could otherwise be invested in improving food security, quality infrastructure, health care, education and other key public services.
The aim of the Academy is to support national authorities across Asia to deal with the problem. Its establishment, follows the success of the branches already in place in Italy, Kenya and Argentina, which have collectively thus far trained over 700 officials (mostly investigators) from over 90 countries. These Academies innovate. They use the “whole of government” approach to fighting tax crimes and illicit flows promoted by the OECD Oslo Dialogue, bringing together the various relevant authorities involved in tackling such multi-faceted crimes. I’m convinced that this new Academy in Asia will make a difference like its peers on other continents. It will equip criminal tax investigators and other relevant officials from national authorities across Asia to prevent, detect and prosecute tax and financial crime. It will also contribute to enhance the capacities of national authorities to recover the proceeds of those crimes.
The Academy in Japan will draw together experts from the region, and allow them to better cooperate in the fight against financial crime. In doing so, it will strengthen not only the individual countries, but also the much required collective ability in the Asian region and beyond to fight these crimes. Ultimately, these efforts will help reduce the enormous cost of financial crime to our economies, and to our societies more generally.
We thank Japan, most sincerely, for their generous contribution in making this Academy possible, and we eagerly look forward to seeing how it will serve the needs of the many officials that will benefit from it. Thank you.