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15 Called Money Laundering Nations

22 June 2000

PARIS -- June 22, 2000 – As reported by Associated Press: "A high-level international task force on Thursday placed 15 countries, including Russia and Israel, on a 'black list' of nations suspected of failing to cooperate in the fight against money laundering.

"The designation by the 26-nation Finance Action Task Force on Money Laundering was likely to be a major embarrassment for those on the list, including Lebanon, the Philippines and Liechtenstein, the only Western European nation on the list.

"…The report called on international financial institutions to pay special attention to all transactions involving the 'noncooperative' countries and territories on the list, which also includes the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, the Cook Islands, Dominica, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

"In Washington, U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said the United States, one of the countries pushing for a reduction in money laundering, welcomed the 'landmark step to limit the capacity of drug dealers, terrorists, organized criminals and corrupt foreign officials to launder their ill-gotten gains through safe havens.'

"…The report criticized the Bahamas for 'serious deficiencies' in its money laundering laws and the Cayman Islands - the world's fifth-largest center of foreign bank deposits, totaling $600 billion - for having no laws requiring customer identification, record keeping or reporting suspicious activity.

"…Israel was cited for its 'absence' of laws to fight money laundering and failure to report suspicious transactions. Liechtenstein, the only European country on the list was criticized for inadequate reporting of suspicious transactions.

"…The report also criticized Lebanon for excessive secrecy, while Naura, Niue, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines came under fire for having insufficient laws. Panama was singled out for failure to recognize money laundering as a criminal offense and inefficient monitoring rules.

"Russia 'faces many obstacles' in fighting money laundering, while the Philippines have 'excessive secrecy provisions,' the report said.

"…The task force was unable to come up with a figure for the total amount of money illegally laundered in the 15 countries on the list."

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