A global group of tax authorities has launched investigations into a Central American financial institution suspected of helping clients around the globe evade taxes and launder the proceeds of crime.
The Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) announced on Thursday their involvement in “a series of investigations in multiple countries” into the financial institution, which was not named in a release. The tax watchdogs said they’d uncovered “significant information” that will lead to criminal, civil and regulatory action in multiple regions.
Formed in mid-2018, the J5 comprises tax enforcement leaders from Australia, Canada, the U.K., the U.S. and the Netherlands. Since its formation, the J5 has launched other initiatives, but Thursday’s action was touted as the group’s “first major operational activity.”
“I am very pleased with the role the [Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)] is playing in what will be the first of many major operational activities for the J5,” Eric Ferron, the CRA’s chief of staff, said in a statement.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) said it is investigating Australia-based clients of the financial institution who are suspected of having undeclared income. Investigations into more clients may follow, according to the release.
“This multi-agency, multi-country activity should degrade the confidence of anyone who was considering an offshore location as a way to evade tax or launder the proceeds of crime,” said Will Day, deputy commissioner of the ATO.