The purpose of the alliance is to grow international crime enforcement by sharing information and intelligence, enhancing operational capability by piloting new approaches, and conducting joint operations to bring those who enable and facilitate offshore tax crime to account.
Specifically, the group says:
We are convinced that offshore structures and financial instruments, where used to commit tax crime and money laundering, are detrimental to the economic, fiscal, and social interests of our countries. We will work together to investigate those who enable transnational tax crime and money laundering and those who benefit from it. We will also collaborate internationally to reduce the growing threat to tax administrations posed by cryptocurrencies and cybercrime and to make the most of data and technology.
The J5 was formed in response to a call to action from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for countries to do more to tackle the enablers of tax crimes. The J5 will work with the OECD and other countries and organizations where appropriate. The initial focus will be on operational aspects of tackling financial crimes, including sharing best practices and intelligence leads, as well as conducting cases together. The group will also use new methods to track cryptocurrency used in the commission of a crime. Finally, the group will have practices in place so that if a new data breach occurs or if a set of relevant documents is released, a structure will already be in place to address it.
Why now? Don Fort, Chief of IRS-CI, said:
We cannot continue to operate in the same ways we have in the past, siloing our information from the rest of the world while organized criminals and tax cheats manipulate the system and exploit vulnerabilities for their personal gain. The J5 aims to break down those walls, build upon individual best practices, and become an operational group that is forward-thinking and can pressurize the global criminal community in ways we could not achieve on our own.
The first meeting of the group was held last week. At the meeting, the group developed tactical plans and identified opportunities to pursue cyber-criminals and those who enable transnational tax crimes. Further updates on J5 initiatives will be announced in late 2018.