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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

G-7 Talks Tough on Laundering




FUKUOKA, Japan -- The Group of Seven leading industrialized nations said Saturday they would take tough new measures against international money laundering and may cut off some bank dealings with countries that do not halt hot money flows.


"We've named, we've shamed and we're taking measures to fight it," said French Finance Minister Laurent Fabius at the end of a one-day meeting of finance ministers from the G-7.


The group said it was endorsing a "hit list" of nations compiled by the Financial Action Task Force, which was established by the G-7 to investigate the international flow of money obtained through illegal activities.


The measures were a "landmark step" in showing a renewed commitment to curb money laundering around the world, said the statement issued by the finance ministers from the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada.


Ironically, the day's talks had included one of the potential target nations f Russia f for at least part of the discussions.


The FATF last month named 15 havens that it said were not doing enough to prevent the recycling of hundreds of billions of dollars in hot money.


Some $600 billion from drug cartels, mafia barons or other criminal outfits is believed to pass through banks each year f a sum close to the value of the entire Canadian economy, which is the world's seventh biggest.


The rich world's finance ministers had reviewed Saturday 29 nations and pared their list of offenders down to 15.


Potentially more ominous for these countries was a warning in the statement from the Group of Seven finance ministers at the end of a one-day meeting that those who do not clean up their act could find their international finance activities restricted.


Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin attended part of the session but it is not known if he was present for the talks on money laundering.


Speaking to reporters about the money laundering issue later, Kudrin said: "We are now working on a new law to be adopted by the end of this year."


In June, the G-7's anti-money-laundering agency set Liechtenstein, Russia, Israel and several offshore banking meccas on a blacklist of financial centers deemed "uncooperative" in the fight against hot money.


It named the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Dominica, Israel, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Panama, the Philippines, Russia, St Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.


Switzerland was listed too, albeit in the lowest rank of the three-tier table.