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EDITIONS
 Sunday, 15 December, 2002, 14:27 GMT
Nigeria meets money laundering deadline
Lagos street scene
Nigeria's banks face tighter regulation
Nigeria has passed laws to crack down on money laundering one day before a sanctions deadline set by the world's rich and industrialised countries.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the investigative arm of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), threatened to impose financial sanctions against Nigeria if the 15 December deadline was not met.

President Olusegun Obasanjo signed three bills on Saturday which will also create a financial crimes commission and tightened the regulation of Nigeria's banking sector.

"A copy of the money-laundering bill 2002 has been sent ... to the chairman of the FATF," a statement from Mr Obasanjo's office said.

The OECD represents the interests of the 30 most industrialised countries in the world.

Blacklisted

Nigeria is on the FATF's blacklist of money-laundering countries and is rated as the second most corrupt country in the world by Transparency International.

The US, which launched a clampdown on the funding of terrorist groups after 11 September last year, warned of action if the deadline passed without new laws.

"The adoption of such sanctions would have had the effect of disrupting financial flows into Nigeria, including letters of credit transactions," Mr Obasanjo warned in a letter to the Nigerian senate in October.

The bill had been held up by changes made in the senate to the threshold at which financial actions had to be reported.

Mr Obasanjo asked for them to be tightened to meet the OECD's demands.

See also:

12 Dec 02 | Business
28 Nov 02 | Business
21 Nov 02 | Business
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