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Friday, 22 June, 2001, 07:03 GMT 08:03 UK
Money laundering list gets update
Graphic depicting money laundering process
By economics correspondent Andrew Walker

A meeting of representatives from around 30 nations, mostly rich countries, under way in Paris is considering measures against money laundering.

The group, known as the Financial Action Task Force, has a list of what it calls non-co-operative countries which are attractive to money launderers.

The task force is discussing whether to add or remove any nations and what action to take against them.

Sales clerk handles money at a cash register
More than $1,000bn may be involved
Money laundering accounts for a huge sum.

It could be as much as $1,500bn a year of criminally acquired money that is made to appear legitimate, according to one estimate published by the Financial Action Task Force.

Even its lower estimate was as large as the annual output of the entire Spanish economy.

A year ago the Task Force first published a list of territories it described as non-co-operative - places where it had identified serious weaknesses that are helpful to criminals.

There were 15 on the list, including Russia, Israel and a number of island territories in the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Updating list

On Friday the Task Force is due to publish an updated list - an event arousing great interest in the countries concerned.

It is also expected to suggest measures that Task Force member countries can take.

That could include a ban on banks having any dealings with the territories on the list, which would severely undermine their position as financial centres.

Previous Task Force reports have also hinted obliquely at the possibility of withholding World Bank or International Monetary Fund loans.

But such a decision would have to be taken by the boards of those institutions and not by the Task Force.

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See also:

23 Oct 00 | Business
Clampdown on money laundering
30 Oct 00 | Business
Banks target dirty money
20 Jul 00 | Business
Liechtenstein banking crackdown
08 Jul 00 | Business
G7 warns dirty money states
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