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British Government Documents Release Demanded

8 August 2005

UNITED KINGDOM – (PRESS RELEASE) -- The Conservative Party has today demanded that all letters and correspondence between government officials and the American casino industry should be made public. The call follows documents released under the Freedom of Information Act which show that Government Officials lobbied to lift controversial money laundering proposals which would have benefited American casinos wishing to set up in the UK.

The Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Theresa May, has written to the Secretary of State demanding that all correspondence be made available. She said:

"The Secretary of State and the Prime Minister told the Commons that it was a matter for the Treasury to decide on money laundering rules. Yet it is now clear that not only were DCMS officials in discussions with American Casino operators, they were actively lobbying the Treasury on their behalf. The impression given by Tessa Jowell was clearly misleading.

"It is now essential that her department make public, all the correspondence relating both with the American casinos and with the Treasury. This legislation was incredibly controversial, and was pushed through before the General election despite fierce opposition. Yet it now seems that the relationship between DCMS officials and the American casinos was far closer than the Government admits.

"Given that the Association of Chief Police Officers was just one of the groups warning against the dangers of lifting these restrictions, why were DCMS officials so heavily in favour of it? Having talks with casino operators is one thing, but lobbying on their behalf is something completely different.

"We urgently require reassurances that the Treasury will not jeopardise the war against organised crime by relaxing money laundering rules."

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