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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Experts Meet to Fight Laundering

STRASBOURG Experts from about 40 nations recommended new measures to stifle money laundering in Russia and other countries of Eastern Europe, which have become targets for organized crime after the fall of communism.

Meeting at the Council of Europe, senior officials and specialists said money laundering was a "true pillage of national resources" threatening all societies.

According to UN estimates, $300 billion is illegally laundered worldwide each year, with large amounts passing through countries of the former Soviet bloc, which lack necessary legislation to crack down.

The experts, from the 33 member states of the Council of Europe, plus nations including Russia, the United States and Australia, recommended that banks should "denounce any unusual or suspect transaction to the authorities."

"Banking secrecy should not hinder criminal inquiries," they said after a three-day conference entitled "Money Laundering in States in Transition.".

In the East, "the rapid movement toward a market economy and wide-ranging privatization has increased serious economic crime and different forms of theft or diversion of funds belonging to the state," the statement said.

According to the Russian Central Bank, between $1 billion and $2 billion, mostly from criminal activities, leaves the country every month.