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Opinion

Lawyers held to account on money laundering

Powerful international task forces charged by G7 governments with fighting money laundering have long pressured banks into taking responsibility for the activities of their customers. Now lawyers may come under the same kind of scrutiny By Nigel Page

Two blacklists published within a week of each other at the end of June have raised the profile of international efforts to combat money laundering and tax evasion. The G7-sponsored Financial Action Task Force (FATF) broke the public silence it has maintained for the 10 years since it was established, by posting a list of 15 jurisdictions it considered to be "non-cooperative" in the international efforts to reduce the scope for money laundering. The list, which included 10 Caribbean islands, also named Israel, Russia, the Philippines and Liechtenstein.


Some of those on the FATF list had their reputations further tarnished when the OECD published a list of countries it considers "harmful" tax havens on June 26. A long lit of 35 offshore financial centers were named as tax havens that, the OECD claims, "harm trade and investment." Among others these include Monaco, Jersey, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Bahrain and the Bahamas.


These moves come at a time when the G7 nations are stepping up pressure on jurisdictions seen to be helpful to anyone recycling the proceeds of crime, not just drug trafficking but also fiscal crime, otherwise know as tax evasion.


They are pushing hard to end the culture of bank secrecy that makes so many of these centers attractive to the money launderer and the tax evader.




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