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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Money Laundering and Financial Crimes


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Introduction

In 1999, money laundering exploded onto the front pages of the world's newspapers. In August, news headlines claimed that $15 billion in funds from Russia might have been laundered through banks in New York. Newspapers have continued to follow this story. In September 1999, U.S. Treasury Secretary Summers testified before the House Banking Committee on this issue, placing international money laundering directly into the spotlight. The investigation continues and indictments of a former bank official, two other individuals and the three companies have been filed. As the 2000 INCSR goes to press, guilty pleas from two of the individuals and the three companies have been entered. The large movements of money out of Russia and through American banks continue to focus the attention of the world on the problem of money laundering. Around the globe, there were both positive and negative developments in this field.

September marked the release of the Administration's National Money Laundering Strategy for 1999. This Strategy, prepared pursuant to the Money Laundering and Financial Crimes Strategy Act of 1998, highlighted the federal government's effort to address the problem of money laundering on a coordinated and comprehensive level. One of the four major goals of the Strategy is to strengthen international cooperation to disrupt the global flow of illicit money, and there are a number of action items in the Strategy that specifically address international money laundering.

Another major money laundering development in 1999 was the issuance of financial advisories concerning Antigua and Barbuda by the United States and the United Kingdom in April. The issuance of these advisories demonstrated that the United States and other nations will take tough, concrete action against governments that do not seriously address the problem of money laundering and do not adequately supervise financial institutions within their jurisdictions. The U.S. advisory, which advised financial institutions to give "enhanced scrutiny to all financial transactions routed into or out of Antigua and Barbuda," was issued because of negative changes in Antigua and Barbuda's anti-money laundering laws. These changes threatened to "create a 'haven' whose existence will undermine international efforts of the United States and other nations to counter money laundering and other criminal activity."

Issuance of these advisories is part of a coordinated campaign to identify and engage, and if necessary isolate, those jurisdictions that are not adequately addressing the problem of money laundering and to induce them into fulfilling their responsibilities as members of the international community. For example, the National Money Laundering Strategy has as one of its objectives that the United States should "apply increasing pressure to jurisdictions where lax controls invite money laundering." Action items included under this objective include a mandate to consider unilateral action where appropriate, including the issuance of bank advisories.

There is also multilateral support for stronger measures against non-compliant jurisdictions. The Financial Action Task Force has embarked upon an initiative to consider steps to be taken regarding countries and territories (including among FATF members) that fail to provide effective international administrative and judicial cooperation in money laundering cases. The first step in this process was to develop criteria for defining the non-cooperative countries and territories. The second step is to identify the jurisdictions that meet these criteria. The third step will be to agree upon the necessary international action to encourage compliance by the identified non-cooperative jurisdictions. The FATF is well underway on this initiative. Further, the FATF has already issued a press release expressing its concern about Austria, a FATF member, with respect to its failure to eliminate the anonymous passbook savings accounts that are available in Austria. Austria must begin to eliminate these accounts or face suspension of its FATF membership in June 2000. The FATF's willingness to take action against one of its members indicates that it will not shrink from fully pursuing this initiative.

In 1999, FATF agreed to expand its membership and invited three new countries to join as observers. These strategically important countries are Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. Full membership will be extended to each country once they satisfy FATF membership requirements.

Also during 1999, the Financial Stability Forum was created by the G-7 Finance Ministers to enhance international cooperation and coordination in the area of financial market supervision and surveillance. The Forum met for the first time in April and agreed to focus initially on three issues: the implications of highly leveraged institutions, the offshore financial services sector and short-term capital flows. This focus benefits efforts being undertaken in other various international initiatives to combat global money laundering and financial crime.

Any investigation of money laundering in the United States that involves the proceeds of a crime committed in a foreign country requires evidence that would establish the commission of the crime in the foreign country. Consequently, a successful money laundering prosecution in the United States requires the assistance and cooperation of the jurisdiction where the proceeds were generated. Such cooperation, in turn, requires that the countries involved have good working relationships between law enforcement agencies and have laws that allow and facilitate the exchange of information and evidence. Without such cooperation, it is difficult to investigate and prosecute international movements of money. Several bills to promote anti-money laundering cooperation have been introduced recently in the United States Congress.

Finally, it should be noted that two international crime conventions are also seeking to strengthen the international efforts against money laundering. In December 1999, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing. This Convention requires States Parties to criminalize the providing or collecting of funds with the intent or knowledge that they are to be used to conduct certain terrorist activity. The Convention also contains important advances in the area of mutual legal assistance, including a provision that States Parties may not refuse a request for mutual legal assistance on the ground of bank secrecy. In addition, a new UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime is being negotiated for General Assembly adoption in 2000. This Convention is expected to contain provisions to criminalize the laundering of proceeds beyond drug proceeds and to enhance anti-money laundering regulations, enforcement and cooperation worldwide.

Over the past year, it is encouraging that while anti-money laundering jurisdictions and organizations have been marshaling their forces, new colleagues have joined their ranks. Positive developments on this front include major initiatives in Eastern and Southern Africa, South America and the Asia-Pacific region. Each of these initiatives strengthens the global anti-money laundering community.

Why We Must Combat Money Laundering

People who commit crimes need to disguise the origin of their criminal money so that they can use it more easily. This fact is the basis for all money laundering, whether that of the drug trafficker, organized criminal, terrorist, arms trafficker, blackmailer, or credit card swindler. Money laundering generally involves a series of multiple transactions used to disguise the source of financial assets so that those assets may be used without compromising the criminals who are seeking to use the funds. Through money laundering, the criminal tries to transform the monetary proceeds derived from illicit activities into funds with an apparently legal source.

Money laundering has devastating social consequences and is a threat to national security because it provides the fuel for drug dealers, terrorists, illegal arms dealers, corrupt public officials and other criminals to operate and expand their criminal enterprises. In doing so, criminals manipulate financial systems in the United States and abroad. Unchecked, money laundering can erode the integrity of a nation's financial institutions. Due to the high integration of capital markets, money laundering can also negatively affect national and global interest rates as launderers reinvest funds where their schemes are less likely to be detected, rather than where rates of return are higher because of sound economic principles. Organized financial crime is assuming an increasingly significant role in money laundering that threatens the safety and security of peoples, states and democratic institutions. Moreover, our ability to conduct foreign policy and to promote our economic security and prosperity is hindered by these threats to our democratic and free-market partners.

In recent years, crime has become increasingly international in scope, and the financial aspects of crime have become more complex, due to rapid advances in technology and the globalization of the financial services industry. Modern financial systems permit criminals to order the transfer of millions of dollars instantly though personal computers and satellite dishes. Money is laundered through currency exchange houses, stock brokerage houses, gold dealers, casinos, automobile dealerships, insurance companies, and trading companies. Private banking facilities, offshore banking, shell corporations, free trade zones, wire systems, and trade financing all have the ability to mask illegal activities. The criminal's choice of money laundering vehicles is limited only by his or her creativity. Ultimately, this laundered money flows into global financial systems where it can undermine national economies and currencies. Money laundering is thus not only a law enforcement problem but a serious national and international security threat as well.

There is now worldwide recognition that we must deal firmly and effectively with increasingly elusive, well-financed and technologically adept criminals who are determined to use every means available to subvert the financial systems that are the cornerstone of legitimate international commerce. Global events over the past year involving offshore financial centers and new cyber money laundering trends point to the necessity of promptly addressing this growing threat.

Money launderers also negatively impact jurisdictions by reducing tax revenues through underground economies, competing unfairly with legitimate businesses, damaging financial systems, and disrupting economic development. Money laundering is now being viewed as a central dilemma in dealing with all forms of international organized crime because financial gain means power. Fighting money launderers not only reduces financial crime; it also deprives criminals and terrorists of the means to commit other serious crimes.

The United States and other nations are victims of tax evasion schemes that use various financial centers around the world and their bank secrecy laws to hide money from tax authorities, thus undermining legitimate tax collection. Financial centers that have strong bank secrecy laws and weak corporate formation regulations, and that do not cooperate in tax inquiries from foreign governments, are found worldwide. These financial centers, known as "tax havens," thrive in providing sanctuary for the deposit of monies from individuals and businesses that evade the payment of taxes in their home jurisdictions and to keep the money they have deposited from the knowledge of tax authorities. Billions of funds on which tax is properly due (marks, lira, pounds, et cetera) are held on deposit in these tax havens.

It makes no difference whether the funds on which tax is due emanate from illegal activity or revenue earned legally. Tax evasion and money laundering are activities that are aided by financial centers that have strong bank secrecy laws and a policy of non-cooperation with foreign tax or law enforcement authorities.

Offshore Financial Centers (OFCs)

Recent events of the past few years have led to a marked increase in 1999 in the efforts of the international financial community to identify and eliminate deficiencies in regulatory systems that may have the potential to threaten global financial stability. Simultaneously, the international financial community has been examining jurisdictions engaged in cross-border transactions to determine the extent to which individual jurisdictions adhere to standards and norms designed to thwart money laundering, tax evasion and other transnational financial crimes.

No sector in the global financial system is undergoing more intense scrutiny than the offshore financial services sector. Nearly sixty jurisdictions, scattered around the globe, comprise this constantly expanding sector (see offshore chart in this chapter.) A recent study found that by the end of 1997, the share of cross-border assets held in the offshore sector ($4.8 trillion) accounted for more than half all cross-border assets held globally.1

It is not only the sheer volume of cross-border assets held by the offshore financial centers that has riveted the attention of the world's regulators, supervisors, law enforcement organizations and international financial institutions. While the OFCs serve many legitimate functions in international commerce and financial planning,2 some of the products and services provided by the OFCs when combined with certain aspects of the regulatory and legal regimes within the sector can be used for criminal purposes. In particular, the lack of transparency that characterizes the offshore sector has acted as a powerful magnet to governments, groups and individuals desirous of hiding their financial activity from public scrutiny.

Although there is little consensus regarding the exact definition of an offshore financial center, certain characteristics distinguish traditional onshore financial centers from those termed "offshore." Unlike the onshore jurisdictions, the vast majority of OFC jurisdictions restrict access to their OFC financial services and products to non-residents. Further, many OFCs conduct financial transactions only in currencies other than the local currency.

OFC jurisdictions also differ from onshore jurisdictions in their regulatory regimes and legal frameworks. In general, OFC jurisdictions lack the stringent banking regulatory and supervisory regimes found in developed onshore jurisdictions. In many OFC jurisdictions, banks are not required to adhere to a wide range of regulations normally imposed on onshore banks. Formation of a bank is more easily accomplished in OFC jurisdictions; in some, a bank can be formed and registered and its ownership placed in the hands of nominee directors via the Internet. However formed, there are few, if any, disclosure requirements. Bank transactions frequently are free of exchange and interest rate restrictions, minimal or no capital reserve requirements are required, and transactions are mostly tax-free. Some 4,000 banks are thought to have been licensed and registered in the offshore sector by December 1998.3 How many are merely "brass plate banks" is not known. Other non-bank financial industries, such as the insurance and securities industries are subject to even less, if any, regulation than is the banking industry in the offshore sector.

While there are well-regulated OFC jurisdictions, a principal attraction of the sector itself is the existence of legislative frameworks that, to varying degrees, are designed to provide anonymity, to promote regulatory and supervisory arbitrage, and to provide mitigation or evasion of home-jurisdiction tax regimes.5 Even OFC jurisdictions with well-regulated banking systems normally provide loosely regulated non-bank financial services, such as the insurance and securities industries. Common to the sector are the confidential formation and management of a variety of international business companies (IBCs) 5 and exempt companies, trusts, investment funds and insurance companies, replete with nominee directors, nominee officeholders and nominee shareholders. While all these services or products are legitimate in and of themselves, it is the skillful use of these products, combined with the loose regulation and enhanced secrecy of the OFC jurisdictions that attract those intent on criminal behavior. Additionally, many of the OFC jurisdictions also provide bearer shares for corporations and banks, in addition to specific forms of trusts designed to protect individual assets as well as to provide anonymity to the beneficial owners of corporate entities.

This lack of transparency, coupled with a concomitant reluctance or refusal of many OFC jurisdictions to cooperate with regulators and law enforcement officials from other jurisdictions, attracts those with illegitimate purposes. Drug traffickers, terrorists, money launderers, tax evaders and other criminals have found the OFCs a particularly inviting venue in which to conduct and conceal their nefarious activities.

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1 Luca Errico and Alberto Musalem, Working Paper of the International Monetary Fund, "Offshore Banking: An Analysis of Micro-and Macro-Prudential Issues," 1999, p.10.

2 OFCs maintain that their carefully crafted laws and regulations provide beneficial business and financial planning options for their clients, including but not limited to: sophisticated trade financing, estate planning for high net worth individuals, tax mitigation for individuals and corporations, avoidance of exchange controls, liability containment for ships and airplanes, sophisticated insurance management options, investment opportunities that transcend home jurisdiction marketing regulations, preservation of assets, investment of overnight funds, and freedom from certain home jurisdiction regulatory requirements.

3 UNODCCP, Working Paper of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention " The UN Offshore Forum," January 2000, p.6. Forty-four percent of all offshore banks are thought to be located in the Caribbean and Latin America, 29% in Europe, 19% in Asia and the Pacific and 10% in Africa and the Middle East.

4 The United Kingdom, Japan and the United States provide for the registration and operation of non-resident banks and corporations. However, they are normally excluded from analyses of offshore jurisdictions for reasons relating to the transparency of their stringently regulated regimes and their open access to law enforcement authorities which differentiate them from OFCs discussed in this analysis. In macro-economic terms, they are described as "primary OFCs," having advanced settlement and payment systems and operating in liquid regional markets where both the source and use of funds are available. These characteristics also distinguish them from the OFCs discussed herein. (Economic description derived from Errico and Musalem, p.12.)

Improper Use of OFCs

The opacity of the offshore sector appeals to sovereign states as well. A 1999 working paper of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded that OFCs played a contributory role in the recent financial crises in Asia and Latin America by providing a hiding place for losses of loans from the international financial institutions. In 1997, Malaysia hid some $10 billion in losses in its OFC. Thailand, between 1993-1996, disguised poor lending decisions by "rolling over" its losses into its offshore sector. In the 1995 banking crisis in Argentina, $3-$4 billion of depositor and creditor losses were incurred due to the failure of Argentina's offshore banks operating in the OFCs in the Caribbean and in Uruguay. Similarly, in Venezuela's 1994 banking crisis, the offshore financial sector was used to hide billions of dollars by shifting assets and liabilities through unmonitored offshore establishments.2

Another example of disguising financial irregularities involved the Russian Central Bank (CBR) and the Isle of Jersey OFC. FIMACO, established as an IBC in Jersey at the end of the Soviet-era with a capitalization of only $1,000, became a wholly owned subsidiary of Eurobank, a subsidiary of the CBR, in 1992. Between 1993 and 1997, the CBR and Eurobank transferred just under $2.5 billion through FIMACO in order to inflate CBR reserve levels in order to mislead the IMF. Investigation into these transactions have found no evidence to date that any funds had been misappropriated or stolen.3

IBCs

As noted above, FIMACO was an IBC formed in the Jersey OFC with an initial capitalization of only $1,000. Although FIMACO's beneficial owner was eventually revealed, a primary attraction of IBCs is their ability to hide the identity of the beneficial owner by the use of nominee directors and officeholders. When combined with the use of bearer shares, IBCs present impenetrable barriers to law enforcement. Formed nearly instantaneously via the Internet in many OFCs, IBCs offering prepackaged anonymity (shelf companies) are convenient and accessible vehicles for those engaged in money laundering, tax evasion and other financial crimes. The well-advertised OFC in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is reported to register nearly four hundred new IBCs each month. With more than 300,000 IBCs on its registers, the BVI may be the repository of more than 12% of all IBCs registered globally.1

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1 IBC is the term used to describe a variety of offshore corporate entities which, by design, can only transact business outside the jurisdiction in which they are formed. IBCs are characterized by rapid formation at low cost, broad powers, low to no taxation, minimal reporting requirements and secrecy. Many OFCs also permit IBCs to issue bearer shares.

2 Errico and Musalem, pp.37-38.

3 PricewaterhouseCoopers, "Report to V.V. Gerashenko, Central Bank of Russia, re: FIMACO," August 1999.

Asset Protection Trusts

Although IBCs play an important legitimate role in international commerce, they also play an important role in money laundering, as do a variety of trusts. One form of trust, the Asset Protection Trust (APT), protects the assets of individuals from civil judgments in their home jurisdictions. A common provision of APTs is that challenges or claims against the assets of the trust must be brought before the courts of the jurisdiction of the APT domicile within a relatively short period of time (usually two years). Many APTS contain "flee clauses," requiring the immediate transference to another OFC if the APT is threatened by inquiry. Used in combination with one another, IBCs, mini-trusts, bearer shares and APTs, these instruments make it nearly impossible for competent authorities to generate paper trails or to identify the beneficial owner of companies, while they simultaneously protect those engaging in serious financial crime from civil or criminal prosecution.

Economic Citizenship

Other practices found in some offshore and onshore jurisdictions can be problematic for law enforcement. The selling of varying degrees of citizenship ("economic citizenship") for a contribution to the State, can be found in both onshore and offshore jurisdictions. However, when combined with "special benefits" such as an instant change of name and the ability to travel to many countries without a visa on a new passport, economic citizenship can be misused by criminals. Currently, six OFCs sell economic citizenship: Belize, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and Nauru, in the Pacific.

Virtual Casinos

The Internet has spawned "virtual" casinos and sports betting shops, claiming to have their physical locations in the Caribbean Basin (see the OFC chart). While the details of gambling in cyberspace are discussed elsewhere in this Report, it is instructive to note that with the exception of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, all Caribbean Basin OFCs that sell economic citizenship also sell virtual casino licenses. In the Pacific, only the offshore jurisdictions of Niue and the Cook Islands are known to sell these licenses. Wherever actually located, virtual casinos are extremely profitable for the governments that sell the licenses ($75,000 for a sports betting shop, $100,000 for a virtual casino licenses-a typical fee) and, quite possibly, that share in the operator's profits. As was reported in the 1999 INCSR, the Pacific jurisdictions were thought to have generated nearly $1.2 million dollars a month in these license fees, principally in the Cook Islands. Reports suggest that in 1999, monthly income rose by 25% to $1.5 million. Internet gambling executed via the use of credit cards and offshore banks represents yet another powerful vehicle for criminals to launder funds from illicit sources and to evade taxes.

Sharing Control with the Private Sector

The reality is that, even in the better-regulated OFCs, opportunities for sovereign states to disguise losses and for criminals to engage in the placement and layering of illicitly gained funds are on the increase. New technologies and the creative abilities of unethical attorneys, accountants and other professional "gatekeepers" provide opportunities to manipulate the system. Two Pacific jurisdictions, the Marshall Islands and Niue, appear to have entered into various awkward sharing arrangements, whereby an external agent controls entry to the market, thereby assuming fundamental regulatory functions, nominally in the hands of the government. Entry to the Marshall Islands OFC and regulatory control of the OFC appear to be in the hands of the Reston, Virginia branch of a multi-national company, while entry into the Niue OFC is controlled by a Panamanian law firm.

Similar arrangements can be found in some Caribbean Basin OFCs as well. In the Belize OFC control of the registration of IBCs and ships was ceded to the private sector at its outset. In the case of Antigua and Barbuda, ceding control to an external agent played a major role in that government's decision to change legislation to create a haven for those engaged in money laundering. After intensive but fruitless negotiations with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, the United States, followed by the United Kingdom issued financial advisories in April 1999 warning their own financial institutions to view with suspicion all transactions to, through and from Antigua and Barbuda, or involving any of its Nationals. One result of these advisories was the closing of all but 18 of Antigua and Barbuda's 57 offshore banks. Another beneficial result of the advisories has been the passage of new legislation, which reportedly has corrected many defects of the former laws pertaining to banking. Under the 1998 defective IBC Act the regulatory function of IBCs effectively was in the hands of private sector agents responsible for marketing the sector. It is expected that the act will be revised to reflect the complete separation of government regulatory functions from marketing, the latter of which is a private sector function. More recently, St. Lucia, despite the specific advice of the United States to the contrary, enacted legislation that places all but nominal regulatory control of its proposed OFC into the hands of the private sector. If the reports of the contents of the recently brought into force legislation are accurate, St. Lucia will have transferred control of its OFC to the private sector.

Entering into such arrangements is not a necessary pre-condition, however, to attracting dubious activity. Nauru, a Pacific Island with a population of only 10,000 individuals, has nearly 400 offshore banks registered to a single post office box. Reports by the Central Bank of Russia in 1999 allege that during 1998-1999, nearly $70 billion was either "booked" to Russian-owned banks registered in Nauru or transferred through Nauru's correspondent banks to OFCs in the Caribbean and Europe. Much smaller amounts of the $70 billion are alleged by the Central Bank to have been booked to, or transferred through, the Vanuatu OFC and through Palau. As is frequently the case, the markets reacted to these allegations quickly. Deutsche Bank issued a message to the nearly 300 correspondent banks within its system to stop processing dollar denominated transactions from the three Pacific jurisdictions. Republic National Bank, Bankers Trust and the Bank of New York followed suit.1

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1 UNODCCP, p.6. Of the nearly 2.5 million IBCs registered globally, 37% were registered in the Caribbean and Latin America, 25% in "Europe, 30% in Asia and the Pacific and 8% in Africa and the Middle East

Current International Initiatives

The damage to the reputation of an individual OFC resulting from governments or markets reacting to reports of irregular or illicit activities is significant as is the unavoidable collateral damage to the reputation of the offshore sector as a whole. For that reason, better-regulated OFCs understandably resent being tarred by the same brush as those which are not well regulated.

During the past year or so, the threats presented by a lack of transparency and oversight to an increasingly interdependent global financial system have been examined in variety of fora. While all these initiatives are important, the following will have a direct and immediate impact on the offshore sector and on the reputation of individual offshore jursidictions.

United Kingdom White Paper on the Offshore Industry in the Overseas Territories

Anthony Edwards' extensive review of the British Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man was presented to Parliament in November 1998. Edwards concluded that while "prudential regulation of banks, investment business and insurance is generally of a high standard," there were specific areas in which all the Channel Islands could improve.1 For example, the use of instruments such as asset protection trusts and bearer shares provided obstacles to international law enforcement.

Following the Edwards report, a White Paper on the offshore industry in the British Overseas Territories (Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat and Turks and Caicos) was issued in March 1999. That paper describes potential changes designed to ensure that those jurisdictions' regulatory regimes are effective, transparent and offer adequate accessibility for the legitimate investigation of criminal activity, including money laundering, other financial crimes as well as tax fraud and tax evasion The potential changes would also apply to the Channel Island jurisdictions.

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1 Anthony Edwards, "Review of Financial Regulation in the Crown Dependencies," presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, November 1998, p. vi.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Program to Counteract Harmful Tax Practices

While the British Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories will face new regulations, including to withhold taxes, that may not be the case with smaller sovereign offshore jurisdictions located around the world. In pursuit of their effort to combat harmful tax practices, OECD governments are in the process of identifying jurisdictions that function as tax havens, and the OECD is taking steps to eliminate the adverse consequences that those jurisdiction have on the world economy. The identified jurisdictions will be encouraged to eliminate the harmful features of their regimes as part of an ongoing co-operative dialogue with the OECD Forum on Harmful Tax Practices. In situations in which those discussions are unsuccessful, coordinated countermeasures by OECD member countries are foreseen.

Mandated by the 1998 Report on Harmful Tax Competition to produce a list of tax havens, the Forum, over the last year has engaged in extensive factual review and dialogue with the jurisdictions initially identified for review (with the exception of a small number that chose not to participate). On the basis of these consultations, the Forum met in November 1999 in Paris to undertake an initial technical evaluation of whether each jurisdiction meets the criteria for being a tax haven, as set out in the 1998 Report. Those preliminary findings were presented to the Committee on Fiscal Affairs, the OECD's senior tax policy body in January 2000.

As defined in the 1998 Report, a tax haven is a jurisdiction that (i) imposes no or only nominal taxes (generally or in special circumstances), (ii) offers, or is perceived to offer, itself as a place to be used by non-residents to escape taxation in their jurisdiction of residence, and (iii) possesses "confirming criteria." Those confirming criteria are: 1) lack of effective exchange of information, 2) lack of transparency, and (3) attracting businesses that conduct no substantial activities. These criteria are consistent with the nature of the tax poaching schemes that are the object of the OECD's work: schemes that impede the ability of home jurisdictions to enforce their own tax laws.

Currently, private dialogues are underway with those jurisdictions under review, and any list of tax havens would be submitted to the OECD Council in June 2000. Publication of the Forum's findings is not expected until after the June 2000 Ministerial. The report is expected to distinguish between uncooperative tax havens and jurisdictions that choose to commit themselves to work towards eliminating the harmful aspects of their regimes. No distinction will be made between jurisdictions that are independent states and those that are dependencies.

Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Ad Hoc Group on Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories (NCCT)

The Financial Action Task Force, is engaged in a process designed to identify non-cooperative jurisdictions in the fight against money laundering and to encourage them to implement international standards in this area. The year-old initiative began with the development of twenty-five criteria1 to identify detrimental rules and practices that impede international cooperation in the fight against money laundering. The criteria address the following issues:

  • Loopholes in financial regulations that allow no, or inadequate supervision of the financial sector, weak licensing or customer identification requirements, excessive financial secrecy provisions, or lack of suspicious transaction reporting systems.

  • Weaknesses in commercial requirements including the identification of beneficial ownership and the registration procedures of business entities.

  • Obstacles to international co-operation, regarding both administrative and judicial levels.

  • Inadequate resources for preventing, detecting and repressing money laundering activities.
The criteria are consistent with the international anti-money laundering standards set out in the forty Recommendations of the FATF, the intergovernmental body set up in 1989 to combat money laundering.

The FATF has set up four regional review groups to begin reviews of a number of jurisdictions, both within and outside the FATF membership. Jurisdictions to be reviewed are being informed of the work to be carried out by the FATF. The reviews will involve the gathering of all relevant information, including laws and regulations as well as any mutual evaluation reports, self-assessment surveys or progress reports, if available. The factual information on each jurisdiction's regime will then be analyzed with respect to the twenty-five criteria and a draft report will be prepared and sent to the jurisdictions concerned for comment. Once the reports are completed, the FATF will address further steps to encourage constructive anti-money laundering action and is expected to publish a list of non-cooperative jurisdictions.

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1 The twenty-five criteria are set forth in the Annex - to the Money Laundering and Financial Crimes section.

The Financial Stability Forum (FSF) Working Group on Offshore Financial Centers

The FSF established the OFC Working Group in April 1999. The Working Group is comprised of officials of industrial and emerging market economies, international institutions, and regulatory and supervisory groupings. The Working Group's purpose is to evaluate the impact on global financial stability of the uses made by market participants of financial offshore centers. The Working Group is reviewing the uses and activities of OFCs. Those OFCs with weaknesses in financial supervision, cross-border cooperation, and transparency allow financial market participants to engage in regulatory arbitrage of several forms, undermining efforts to strengthen the global financial system. The Group considers that the key to addressing most of the problems with these OFCs is through the adoption and implementation of international standards, particular in cross-border cooperation. The Group's work is focused on identifying the relevant international standards whose implementation would address these issues, and developing recommendations on mechanisms for assessing compliance in the implementation of the standards and ensuring appropriate incentives to enhance such compliance.

The OFCs in the New Millennium

Were all problematic OFCs to implement all the recommendations of the international organizations, the opportunities presented to those intent on using the OFCs for criminal purposes in the opening decades of the 21st century would still increase greatly with the introduction of new technologies. Governments will have to devote substantial resources to cope with issues that promise to be as complex than those currently associated with cyberspace.

But the Internet need not be a weapon wielded primarily by those with criminal intent. A cursory search on the Internet reveals dozens of websites promising instantaneous access to the OFCs. Not infrequently, regulators of the named OFC jurisdictions state that they have no contractual connection to the agents advertising their access and are, in fact, being victimized by being named in these websites.

A novel idea might resolve this problem. To protect against reputational damage, each OFC jurisdiction could construct a website in which it names its contracted agents and also names those who are fraudulently advertising their connection to the OFC. Alternatively, a multinational entity, such as the United Nations might consider providing this service. Additionally, a global website could track fraudulent OFCs such as The Kingdom of EnenKio Atoll, the Republic of Melchizedek and the Republic of Lomar, which exist only in cyberspace. These fraudulent entities are responsible for defrauding individuals of hundreds of millions of dollars through the selling of economic citizenship and other criminal schemes.

Beyond the challenges that new technologies pose for regulators and law enforcement authorities, another lingering issue not yet sufficiently addressed by those committed to achieving transparency in the offshore sector, is the critical role played by licensed professionals in aiding and abetting criminal behavior in the OFCs Achieving transparency would require convening groups representing governments and licensed professionals (such as lawyers, accountants, auditors, company formation agents and notaries) to consider developing clear standards, guidelines and rules to govern conduct in order to avoid putting professionals "in a place in which their obligations to client and to country clearly conflict."2 The United States Government considers this to be a very serious issue and is closely studying it and all its ramifications. While this problem is not unique to the OFCs, it is of particular import in the OFC sector.

Ultimately, the concerted joint effort of regulators, law enforcement officials, and regulated licensed professionals working closely with those providing financial services in all jurisdictions will be necessary to combat all financial crimes, including money laundering and tax evasion, while diminishing the perceived potential threat of the offshore financial sector to global financial stability.

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1 Jonathan M. Winer, "The Coming Wave of Transparency Reform: A Tidal Shift", keynote address at the Seventeenth Cambridge Symposium on Economic Crime" September 1999, p.8.

Explanatory Notes To the Offshore Financial Centers Chart

Given the intrinsically secretive nature of OFCs, public information is frequently difficult to obtain. Industry publications, discussions with officials responsible for managing the OFCs, finance ministry officials, embassy reports, analyses from U.S. agencies, studies of international organizations and other governments and secondary sources provided the data for the chart.

Jurisdictions which are considering establishing OFCs, Nepal and Palau for example, are not included on the chart. Excluded also are jurisdictions which provide low or no taxes to individuals but offer no other services normally associated with the offshore financial service sector.

Within most categories presented on the chart, the designations Y and N are used to denote the existence (Y) or the non-existence (N) of the entity or service in a specific jurisdiction. Where there is no (or only fragmentary) information regarding specific categories, the corresponding cells on the chart are left blank. In some categories, symbols other than, or in addition to Y or N are employed. Explanations for additional symbols are provided below.

Explanations of the categories themselves are either provided in the preceding text, are considered to be self-evident, or are provided below.

Category Designations on the Offshore Financial Centers Chart

Offshore Banks: The number is provided if known. A Y in this category indicates that although the OFC registers offshore banks, the number of such banks is not known. A P indicates that the jurisdiction refuses to reveal the number of registered offshore banks. An N indicates that there are no offshore banks in the jurisdiction. A blank cell indicates that the United States does not know if offshore banks are offered within the OFC.

Trust and Management Companies: These are companies which provide fiduciary services, serve as marketing agents, representatives, lawyers, accountants, trustees, nominee shareholders, directors and officers of international business corporations. Y=Yes; N=No; Blank cell=Unknown.

International Business Corporations (IBCs) &Exempt Companies: Numbers provided when known and public; in many cases, the numbers are significantly underreported. A Y indicates that IBCs and/or Exempt Companies are offered but the number is not known. A P means the jurisdiction refuses to reveal the information; a blank cell indicates that it is not known whether IBCs are offered.

Bearer Shares: Y = Yes; N = No; Blank Cell = Unknown.

Asset Protection Trusts (APTs): Y = Yes; N = No; Blank Cell = Unknown

Insurance and Re-insurance Company Formation: Y = Yes; N = No ; Blank Cell = Unknown

Provides "Economic Citizenship": Passports are sold by jurisdictions that enable their holders to evade taxation and legal remedies by law enforcement agencies of their "home countries". Y = Yes; N = No.

Services Advertised on the Internet: The Internet has been an extraordinary boon to OFCs. For minimal cost, remote and little known jurisdictions and agents can advertise globally, describing the services provided by the OFCs and providing almost instantaneous registration There is no distinction on the chart between government sponsored websites and those sponsored solely by the private sector. Y = Yes, N = No; Blank cell = Unknown

Internet Gaming: Licenses granted by jurisdictions enable grantees to establish "virtual casinos" on the Internet." Pay via credit card. Y= Yes; N= No; Blank Cell = Unknown

Criminalized Drug Money Laundering. A D in this column indicates that the jurisdiction has passed a law criminalizing narcotics-related money laundering only. BD indicates that the money laundering encompasses other crimes in addition to narcotics related money laundering. N = no legislation criminalizing money laundering.

Suspicious Activities Reports: An M indicates that reporting suspicious transactions to law enforcement by banks, and in some jurisdictions, other financial institutions is mandatory. A P indicates that reporting is voluntary. N=no requirement to report.

Cooperates with International Law Enforcement: Y= Yes; N=No; Blank Cell = Unknown

Membership in International Organizations: These multinational organizations have been formed to combat money laundering or to establish sound supervisory regimes; the Asia/Pacific Group, the Financial Action Task Force, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, the Council of Europe Select Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures, the Offshore Group of Banking Supervisors and the Organization of American States Inter-American Drug Control Commission. N = not a member in any of these organizations.

Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs): In money laundering cases, MLATs can be extremely useful as a means of obtaining banking and other financial records from our treaty partners. A Y in this column on the chart indicates that the United States has an MLAT with a specific jurisdiction or with the jurisdiction which is responsible for the international relations of the jurisdiction and which has extended application of the treaty to that jurisdiction. An R designates a country or jurisdiction with which the United States has signed an MLAT which has been ratified by the United States but is not yet in force. A D in this column indicates that the OFC jurisdiction is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom and is covered under the MLAT with the United Kingdom. Madeira, as was, Macau, is an autonomous region of Portugal, which does not have an MLAT with the United States. Similarly, Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles are part of the Netherlands, which does not have an MLAT with the United States. Hong Kong's MLAT.

Offshore Financial Centers Chart -- [Excel file]

Money Laundering Trends

In last year's Report, we noted that there was relatively little change in the predicate offenses that generate illicit proceeds. A review of U.S. suspicious activity reports (SAR),1 investigative activity, prosecutions and convictions during 1999 continues to suggest that sources of illicit proceeds are consistent with those reported in prior years. Specifically, drug trafficking, bank fraud, medical and commercial fraud appear most often as predicate offenses.

Money laundering and evasion of currency reporting requirements continue to be major problems in the United States. All income from illegal activity, such as narcotics trafficking, illegal gambling, Internet, bankruptcy and health care fraud, embezzlement, public corruption and other crimes for profit involve some degree of money laundering.

From 1986 when money laundering was made a separate crime in the United States, through September 1998, there were more than 5,900 convictions or guilty pleas for federal money laundering offences. In fiscal year 1997 through 1999, U.S. Attorneys charged approximately 2,000 defendants each year.

__________________ 1In the United States, financial institutions are required to report suspicious transactions to the competent authorities.

Money Laundering and Tax Evasion

During fiscal year 1999 (October 1, 1998 to September 30, 1999), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) initiated 2,076 money laundering investigations; many worked jointly with other U.S. law enforcement agencies. Of those, 1,710 were recommended for prosecution. The approximate total dollar amount of proceeds laundered on the 1,710 cases was over $7 billion.

In recent years, the IRS has seen a proliferation in tax evasion schemes using trusts, bank accounts, and corporations in offshore financial centers (OFCs). Currently, there are sophisticated promotions of trust schemes that involve a series of trusts formed domestically and in OFCs that are also utilizing foreign bank accounts and international business corporations (IBCs). These promotions are directed to individuals with incomes usually greater than $100,000. Promoters are selling these fraudulent trust packages for $10,000 to $75,000 that purportedly detail how individuals can take their businesses offshore and avoid federal income tax. These promotions are in reality elaborate tax evasion and money laundering schemes, whose multiple layers make it difficult, if not impossible, to determine beneficial owners and to track transactions.

For example, in one sophisticated scheme, promoters instruct individuals to transfer their businesses, including income earned during the year, to a trust, tax-exempt or asset Management Company (AMC). Next, promoters instruct clients to form a trust with nominee directors in an OFC. All income earned by the business that was transferred to the AMC is then distributed to the foreign trust. The trustee of the foreign trust is the AMC. The promoters then instruct individuals to form a second foreign trust also located in an OFC. All the income, less some fraudulent expenses, is distributed from the first foreign trust to the second foreign trust. The first foreign trust is the trustee of the second foreign trust and Certificates of Beneficial Interest (CBIs) are issued to the first foreign trust or other foreigner controlled by the taxpayer. At this point, according to the promoters, the income transferred to the second foreign trust is now outside U.S. tax jurisdiction. Promoters claim that since the source of the income and the beneficiary are foreign, there is no U.S. tax return filing requirements.

Since the business income is now offshore, individuals need to repatriate their earnings back into the United States. The most popular method used to do this is to open a foreign business account with an anonymous IBC in an OFC and deposit business earnings into that account. In other cases, individuals are purchasing offshore banking licenses and forming their own financial institutions (as has been documented in Belize and Nauru). The earnings are returned to the individual by the use of a debit or credit card or through wire transfers. In the case of debit or credit cards, the individual uses the cards for cash access through ATMs in the United States or to pay everyday living expenses. Since these cards are issued by banks in OFCs, it is very difficult for U.S. law enforcement to document the transactions. In some instances, the business earnings are wire transferred back to the United States. This scheme occurs in OFCs around the world.

Money Laundering: New Technologies and Terrorist Financing

The use of automated teller machines (ATMs) is a recently identified method of money laundering that came to light during a comprehensive review of SARs. Other forms of electronic transactions, including via the Internet and with smart cards, are also of concern to U.S. officials responsible for fighting money laundering. Terrorist financing also has been included in this section due to the high priority placed on this problem by U.S. law enforcement authorities.

Automated Teller Machines

A review of SARs filed from July 1997 through June 1998 identified a significant number of reports noting a Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) violations and citing instances of ATM activity. Reports were filed by more than 60 different banks in 32 states, the District of Columbia and Guam. The reporting indicates that ATMs are being used domestically and abroad to deposit and withdraw large sums of cash on a recurrent basis with the apparent purpose of evading detection by law enforcement authorities.

ATM Related SARs

Domestically, the SARs indicate structuring of cash transactions to avoid the Currency Transaction Report (CTR) filing requirement. Customers do this by making multiple ATM cash deposits and withdrawals in combination with same day bank counter activity aggregating more than $10,000.

Internationally, the SARs reveal that, in many instances, cash or wired funds in accounts based in the United States were subsequently withdrawn from ATMs located in jurisdictions with a high risk for money laundering or drug trafficking. The size and number of the withdrawals within short time frames are indicative of potential money laundering.

Online Banking1

The sources of illicit proceeds and schemes used to launder those proceeds remain generally unchanged from prior years. However, there has been a significant increase in the use of online banking services to carry out specific steps in the money laundering cycle. In particular, an increase in the exploitation of online banking for both the layering and integration phases of money laundering has been observed.

Institutions offering online banking use the Internet as the delivery channel to facilitate consumer and business financial transactions, such as funds transfers, bill payment, and account balance review. An online banking customer accesses his or her accounts from an Internet browser--software that runs the banking programs resident on the institution's Internet server.

Although many online banks offer virtually the same services as do traditional brick-and-mortar banks, Internet banking is viewed by many analysts as an important means of maintaining an increasingly sophisticated customer base, of developing a new customer base, and of capturing a greater share of depositor assets. Because Internet banks generally have lower operational and transactional costs than do traditional banks, they are often able to attract new customers with offers of low-cost checking accounts and favorable interest returns on deposits and investments.

Despite lingering customer fears about security, reliability, and privacy, many industry analysts believe that online banking in the United States is positioned for dynamic growth. More than 1,200 U.S. banks and credit unions purchased Internet banking technology in 1998, and it is believed that about 7,200 banks and credit unions did the same by the end of 1999.

The growth of electronic banking has introduced various new challenges for regulatory and law enforcement authorities. Governments must continually evaluate industry developments in order to formulate strategies to ensure continued growth of online banking, while minimizing the risk for financial fraud and money laundering.

Today's online bank may consist of no more than a computer server and a telecommunications connection. Depending on its location, an online bank may be subject to a wide range of oversight and supervision--from very robust and effective policies and programs, to very lax or nonexistent regulatory regimes. In addition, an online bank whose practices come under suspicion by regulatory and law enforcement authorities may be difficult to investigate because of the remote and global projection capabilities of the Internet and other telecommunications technologies. The victims of a bank fraud and the perpetrators of a money laundering scheme each may be half-a-world away from the physical location of the bank's computer servers. Online payment technologies may also pose other unique problems vis-�-vis concealed transactor identities and insufficient or non-existent audit trails.

As the phenomenon of online banking continues to spread globally, so too will the threat for criminal abuse by individuals and organizations engaged in money laundering, fraud and other financial crimes. Electronic banks, particularly those that operate in traditional bank secrecy jurisdictions, offer many unique services that may be misused for the purpose of laundering illicit funds.

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1 "Online banking" is often used as an umbrella term to describe Internet banking, PC banking and telephone banking. This discussion focuses exclusively on the issues associated with Internet banking.

Internet Banking and Gambling

Electronic commerce, or E-commerce, is a growing application within the Internet being used for both legitimate and illegitimate businesses. E-commerce comes in many legitimate forms such as electronic funds transfer and electronic banking. This particular area of Internet banking has undergone regulatory scrutiny in the United States primarily to identify banking customers through verification of driver license, residential address, telephone, social security and passport information. However, in the international electronic banking markets, few regulatory or due diligence oversights address the verification of Internet customers.

For example, offshore Internet banks are often associated with offshore Internet gaming businesses, which further facilitate the laundering of illicit cash. The countries associated with offshore Internet banking do little to conduct on-site review and regulation of these "cyberbusinesses." This poses unique challenges to U.S. law enforcement agencies.

Jurisdictions that have provided a haven for offshore Internet gaming argue that the offshore locations and licenses put the Internet operation outside the jurisdiction of U.S. law. Those cases, however, that have been adjudicated by United States courts, indicate that the act of entering the bet and transmitting the information from the United States via the Internet constitutes gambling activity within the United States and is sufficient to confer jurisdiction to U.S. courts. However, a number of non-cooperative jurisdictions in the Caribbean continue to utilize Internet gaming as a means to target U.S. gamblers and provide a sanctuary for offshore Internet money launders.

Encryption and Electronic Money

United States law enforcement agencies are concerned about cryptography (the art of ciphering and deciphering messages in code). Cryptography has allowed the development of electronic money (e-money). The basic technology that has furthered the use of e-money allows banks and their customers to protect their financial transactions through the use of encryption "keys." By utilizing encryption keys, the banks and individuals can encrypt e-money to be an identified or an anonymous transaction. Identified e-money contains information revealing the identity of the person who originally withdrew the money. Anonymous e-money is similar to paper cash. Once anonymous e-money is withdrawn from an account, it can be spent, given away or laundered without leaving a transaction trail. These types of transactions serve as a conduit for money launderers to facilitate their illicit cash businesses.

Electronic Communication

The Internet is also known as a new forum for public and private speech. This speech is carried-out via electronic mail (e-mail), chat rooms and bulletin boards. These forums are often used by potential money launderers to provide misleading and inaccurate stock and commodity market information. The idea of the money launderer is to provide penny stock or initial public offering stock information that misleads investors to interpret the electronic communication as potential (unofficial) investment advice. This information causes many investors to purchase or sell stocks by anticipating an increase or decrease in market prices. The criminals then use these market adjustments to realize millions of dollars in profits. These profits are then placed into stock transactions via the Internet with commingled lawful cash transactions.

Web Page Crimes

Legitimate vendors have established elaborate web pages in support of their product display, service catalogs, and have utilized a variety of secure payment options to facilitate purchases. These web pages allow for business-to-business or business-to-consumer transactions. Vendors can choose to host their web stores locally or host their web stores remotely through an Internet Service Provider (ISP). These web stores have been used by white collar criminal networks as a mechanism to conduct a wide variety of criminal schemes, including money laundering. Many criminal associates and enterprises also have established their own web pages. One of the schemes involves the use of identity theft and credit cards. In this scheme, criminal enterprises utilize merchandise purchases to launder illicit cash with merchandise sales. Many of these thefts come from criminals who can duplicate legitimate web pages to intercept legitimate consumer purchases (called "web spoofing"). These thefts occur specifically to obtain credit card and identity information from the consumer. Once the information is captured, the thief forwards the intercepted information to the legitimate web page vendor. The legitimate vendor sends the purchase confirmation to the consumer. Many consumers will not know of the theft until the unauthorized merchandise purchases are noted on the consumer's credit card bill.

Smart Cards

Another concern to U.S. law enforcement officials is the developing use of smart cards to facilitate the laundering of illicit cash. Smart cards allow users to bypass paper money by adding cash value to a computer chip embedded on the front of the card. The microchip keeps track of how much money is on the card after each deposit and purchase. Because the cash value is stored on the card, there is no need for the merchant to dial up a bank or credit card company's computer to get approval for a transaction.

Smart cards can be used for direct purchases, computer-to-computer purchases and automatic teller machine withdrawals. This advanced technology has enabled individuals with a pre-loaded value card to withdraw currencies in 53 countries throughout the world.

Although smart cards have been widely accepted in Europe and Asia, consumers in the United States have been slow in welcoming the technology. However, money launderers have determined that smart cards are a far easier way to move large sums of money than bulk cash shipments.

Internet Fraud Center

These new technologies and criminal applications of the Internet have caused U.S. law enforcement officials to encounter difficulty in handling complaints by consumers and even problems in receiving complaints from victims. In many cases, the victim does not know where or even what agency to report an Internet crime. When a law enforcement agency receives a complaint, it is difficult to determine exactly where the crime took place. In response, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has opened the Internet Fraud Center (IFC). The IFC will be a conduit for Internet criminal complaints received domestically and internationally. The IFC was designed by the FBI to address Internet crimes regardless of the violation or where the crime originated or was committed. This information will then be disseminated to the appropriate law enforcement agency for further investigation.

The IFC will allow U.S. law enforcement to apply better investigative resources to address criminal enterprises utilizing the Internet to commit their criminal activity in the year 2000 and beyond.

Terrorist Financing

In 1998, terrorists mounted approximately 273 attacks killing 741 people worldwide. Most notable were the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya--allegedly orchestrated and financed by Usama Bin Ladin and his al-Qa'ida terrorist organization. The simultaneous attacks claimed 301 lives and injured more than 5,000 people.

Terrorist groups differ from other criminal networks in the motives behind their crimes. Unlike drug traffickers and organized crime groups that primarily seek monetary gain, terrorist groups usually have non-financial goals, such as publicity, dissemination of ideology, political legitimacy, and political influence. As a result, uncovering and interdicting the finances of a terrorist organization with existing anti-money laundering laws and FATF guidelines requires that policy makers and law enforcement officials recognize that terrorists' revenues, expenditures and methods of moving funds may differ from profit-oriented organized crime networks.

While not seeking financial gain as an end in itself, international terrorist groups need money to attract and retain adherents and to support a presence locally and overseas. Hizballah, HAMAS, Bin Ladin's al-Qa'ida, and others also need funds for media campaigns, to buy political influence, and even to undertake social projects--largely with the aim of maintaining membership and attracting sympathetic supporters. Indeed, for many terrorist groups, the planning and execution of violent attacks probably comprise a small part of their total budget. It is much more difficult to investigate the financial dealings of a terrorist organization if most of its funds are earmarked for legitimate political, social, and humanitarian activities.

Although many countries have passed laws that prohibit money laundering for all crimes--including terrorism--the laws usually have been applied to terrorists only in cases where they have taken part coincidentally in fraud, drug trafficking, or some other crime that generated illicit proceeds. More needs to be done on a comprehensive basis to prevent money laundering from facilitating terrorist activities.

Global Money Laundering Typologies

Asia and the Pacific

Structuring of transactions to avoid the prevention and detection of money laundering by threshold-based reporting requirements continues to be a significant problem in the United States as evidenced by a review of the SARs. This problem is further exacerbated by use of cashier's checks and money orders to facilitate physical transportation of funds. For example, one case involved a scheme to structure currency deposits into U.S. financial accounts in amounts just under $10,000 and then to wire transfer these funds to individuals in Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and Vietnam. Additionally, the scheme involved sending cashier's checks and negotiable instruments via the U.S. Postal Service. The structured financial transactions involved the purchase of over $1 million of American Express money orders. The investigation revealed that an illegal money transmitting business was utilized to transfer over $20 million to individuals outside the United States. One of the defendants pled guilty to filing false tax returns and received a sentence of six months plus three years probation. The other defendant was convicted of conspiracy, operating an illegal wire transmitting business, structuring, and tax evasion.

Central and Eastern Europe

A review of SARs filed from January 1997 through February 1999 was undertaken to determine if SAR data could be used to construct a meaningful typology of suspicious financial activity that could be linked to Russia and jurisdictions in Eastern Europe and Eurasia (EEAE). This research identified approximately 500 SARs filed during this period reporting transactions or transactors associated, directly or indirectly, with Russia or one of jurisdictions in EEAE - (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan). The SAR narrative field proved to be invaluable in identifying the relevant transactions and transactors and provided the vast majority of the information of value used in building the typology.

The national SAR database was searched to extract and then analyze SARs that include a reference in the narrative to Russia or the EEAE jurisdictions. An analysis of SAR data showed extensive, large dollar wire transfer activity, typically involving apparent connections between multiple accounts, companies, banks, and countries often involving a Russia-based bank or company, or a Russian citizen.

There are many variations of the overall paths of the wire transfer activity. However, a basic pattern that emerges from SAR data is that bank accounts based in the United States are identified as either primary reception or origination points for large wired sums, coming in from, or destined for, Russia and neighboring countries. It further appears that some of these U.S.-based accounts may also serve as conduit accounts from which large sums are then wired offshore, often to money laundering havens. Similarly, wires may also be received from offshore havens or other foreign locations.

With few exceptions, there appears to be no significant net flow in favor of any frequently cited country, including the United States. In many instances, the activity seems to have no purpose other than to move a transaction through a series of financial institutions, domestically and internationally. Such activity may reflect what law enforcement officials call "layering," or the transfer of funds to and from various locations and accounts for the express purpose of concealing the nature, origin or beneficiaries of the transactions.

Large wire transfer activity associated with Russia and the EEAE is most often identified by the banks as being unusual or suspicious for two reasons. First, the suspect has been unwilling or unable to provide sufficient information about the beneficiary or sender of the wire, or second because inadequate identifying information has traveled with the transaction through a chain of activity.

A second type of unusual or suspicious activity often reported involving Russia and EEAE is that which is not normally expected or commensurate with the stated business of the account holder. Similarly, relatively dormant accounts appear suddenly to experience a noteworthy and unexplained increase in wire transfers or other financial transactions. In some instances, the banks have reported suspected front companies, since it may be discovered by the bank that a given business entity is apparently non-existent (i.e., not operating at its stated address).

The account holders of the U.S.-based bank accounts with active wire transfer activity involving Russia and EEAE include primarily the following types of businesses: import, export and trade; investment and finance; management companies; car dealer, parts and sales; construction; electrical and computer; medical supplies; consulting and marketing; oil; and telecommunications and media companies. While any of these business types can be used as a front for illicit financial activity, international trade entities, investment and financial management companies and construction companies are believed by U.S. and foreign law enforcement authorities to have been used as cover for the movement of criminal proceeds into or out of Russia.

There is also evidence from the SARs pertaining to large dollar wire activity which involves correspondent accounts that a Russian bank maintains at an U.S.-based bank (i.e., through which correspondent account the Russian bank transacts U.S. dollar-denominated wire transfers on behalf of its customers). Banks that are monitoring and reporting such activity as suspicious appear to be doing so because of concerns about the identity of actual transactors, unusually large amounts involved, or atypical patterns of account activity.

Jurisdictions that appear may have some links to these transactions include the British Virgin Islands, Canada, the Cayman Islands, People's Republic of China, Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, and Switzerland. With the exception of the Cayman Islands, each of these jurisdictions experienced a significant increase from 1997 to 1998 in suspicious transactions linked to Russia or the other former Soviet Republics.

On average, approximately 75% of these reported violations are BSA-related-i.e., involving structuring or money laundering. In filings which report wire transfer activity, these jurisdictions are, by a slight margin, more often the destination of wires sent out from a suspicious account, rather than the origination point of wires sent to a suspicious account

Many of these SAR filings refer to more than one of the jurisdictions listed above, indicating that money is being transferred to or from a number of these jurisdictions from the account in question. The country most often mentioned in conjunction with other jurisdictions on this list was Switzerland.

Of the NIS themselves, the three countries that exhibited a marked percentage increase in activity, as reported in the SARs, from 1997 to 1998 are Armenia, Latvia and Ukraine. These are also the three republics with the most overall SAR filings after Russia itself.

The study also involved an updated review on SARs filed since March 1999 (the cut off date for the original data set). That review indicates that activity identified by financial institutions as suspicious and involving Russia and the NIS continues to be consistent with the current typology. The review also indicates that there has been an increase in reporting since that time by some banks, often in response to subpoenas or other requests for information from law enforcement agencies.

Latin America

Operation Casablanca

This case was first discussed in last year's Report and the following information is an update to this ongoing investigation.

In May 1998, the United States Customs Service concluded Operation Casablanca, the largest, most comprehensive and significant drug money laundering case in the history of U.S. law enforcement.

This undercover money laundering investigation resulted in the seizure of over $98 million in U.S. currency ($67 million from bank accounts and $31 million in cash from drug traffickers), over 4 tons of marijuana and two tons of cocaine. The indictment, which was issued in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, charged 26 Mexican bank officials and three Mexican banks, CONFIA, SERFIN, and BANCOMER with laundering drug money. The indictment alleged that officials from 12 of Mexico's largest 19 banking institutions were involved in money laundering activities. Additionally, bankers from two Venezuelan banks, BANCO INDUSTRIAL DE VENEZUELA and BANCO DEL CARIBE were charged in the money laundering scheme.

Operation Casablanca was significant for a number of reasons: (1) because of the sheer volume of the amounts of money involved, and (2) because it represents the first time Mexican banks and bank officials have been directly linked to laundering the Cali and Juarez cartels' U.S. drug profits, and (3) because it uncovered a systematic scheme to launder money via a large number of Mexican institutions.

The money laundering scheme worked in the following manner:

  • Undercover agents were introduced to financial managers from both the Cali Cartel and the Juarez Cartel and obtained contracts to "pick up" drug proceeds on the streets of major U.S. cities.

  • The agents were also introduced to Mexican bankers who then opened bank accounts for them.

  • The funds that were "picked up" were then transported back to Los Angeles, California where they were deposited in U.S. Customs Service-controlled undercover bank accounts.

  • The funds were then wire transferred to accounts opened by the Mexican banking officials. After taking out their commission, these officials then issued Mexican bank drafts drawn on the U.S. accounts of the Mexican banks. These bank drafts were delivered back to the undercover agents in the U.S. either in person or via courier.

  • The funds were then disbursed at the direction of the money launderers. A large percentage of the money seized during Operation Casablanca was as the result of the use of "substitute assets" laws. Substitute assets are assets owned by a business or individual and seized by the government in lieu of the actual property (in this case money) that was used to further a criminal enterprise.
Court orders were obtained allowing for the seizure of the total amount of drug money laundered through the accounts and the amount of commission money paid to the bankers. Because the Mexican bank drafts were drawn on the U.S. accounts of the Mexican banks, court orders were obtained allowing for the seizure of the aforementioned funds from those U.S. accounts.

As a result:

  • BANCOMER and SERFIN each pled guilty to criminal money laundering violations and together forfeited a total of $16 million to the government. Each bank was also fined $500,000.
  • CONFIA settled the indictment with a civil plea and forfeited $12 million.
  • 28 individuals, including 12 Mexican bankers and their associates, have pled guilty to money laundering and/or drug smuggling charges.
  • 3 Mexican bankers were convicted, and 3 Mexican bankers were acquitted of money laundering charges in trials in Los Angeles.
  • Three Venezuelan bankers were convicted in December 1999 on money laundering charges.
  • $64 million of the $98 million seized during this investigation has been forfeited to the government of the United States.
Africa and the Middle East

Alien smuggling as a money laundering predicate offense in the United States has grown from being a problem primarily involving neighboring countries to involve transportation of illegal immigrants from all regions of the world. Proceeds from this type of crime have unique characteristics and result in highly complex financial investigations for our immigration authorities and for other law enforcement agencies that have collateral jurisdiction, such as the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

In a recent case, postal inspectors and special agents from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) uncovered an alien smuggling/money laundering scheme. On September 30, 1999, an anti-smuggling task force of the INS and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) executed a federal seizure warrant at the Bank of America, New York, New York. The warrant covered the contents of an operating account maintained by a gold exchange company in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Nearly $300,000 was seized from the operating account.

Over the past three years, the INS and agencies involved in the alien smuggling task force also have been conducting an international alien smuggling investigation based in Dallas, Texas. The investigation revealed that alien smuggling proceeds in the form of structured postal money orders and other monetary instruments have been funneled through the UAE-based gold exchange company's account in New York to members of alien smuggling organizations located abroad. A number of the organization's members have pled guilty in Dallas, Texas to alien smuggling and money laundering, and they are now cooperating defendants. The co-conspirators stated they used the gold exchange company's account to launder money and transfer alien smuggling proceeds.

Investigators concentrated on identifying the movement of the illegal proceeds and the financial institutions in which the proceeds were deposited. An Indian national living in the eastern United States structured large postal money order purchases at several post offices in his city. The Indian national, who was arrested on alien smuggling and money laundering charges in November 1998, transferred these money orders plus checks received at a post office box (usually via Express Mail), through a network of co-conspirators to the UAE-based currency exchange. During questioning, he stated that the Hawala or Hundi alternative remittance system provided a mechanism for him to send currency between the United States and India. Further, he indicated the primary reason to utilize the Hawala system was to transfer money to smugglers in India or to reimburse smuggling fees to relatives in India who had provided money to smugglers in India.

With the assistance of FinCEN, a complete analysis is being conducted on a number of deposits into the operating account. As of December 31, 1999, the analysis disclosed a large percentage of the deposits consisted of structured postal and non-postal money orders, cashier's checks and traveler's checks. The investigation is continuing.

Other Money Laundering Trends and Typologies

Black Market Peso Exchange System

The Black Market Peso Exchange system is the primary money laundering conduit used by Colombian narcotics traffickers in repatriating revenues to Colombia and is the single most efficient and extensive money laundering scheme in the Western Hemisphere. Specifically the process begins when a Colombian drug cartel arranges the shipment of drugs to the United States. The drugs are sold in the U.S. in exchange for U.S. currency that is then sold to a Colombian black market peso broker's agent in the United States. The U.S. currency is sold at a discount because the broker and his agent must assume the risk of evading the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reporting requirements when later placing the dollars into the U.S. financial system.

Once the dollars are delivered to the U.S.-based agent of the peso broker, the peso broker in Colombia deposits the agreed upon equivalent in Colombian pesos into the cartel's account in Colombia. At this point, the cartel has laundered its money because it has successfully converted its drug dollars into pesos, and the Colombian broker and his agent now assume the risk for introducing the laundered drug dollars into the U.S. banking system, usually through a variety of surreptitious transactions. Having introduced the dollars into the U.S. banking system, the Colombian black market peso broker now has a pool of laundered dollars to sell to Colombian importers. These importers then use the dollars to purchase goods, either from the U.S. or from other markets, which are transported to Colombia, often via smuggling in order to avoid applicable Colombian law.

The exact size and structure of the BMPE system cannot be determined with any degree of precision. However, based on anecdotal law enforcement evidence, informants' statements, and Colombian law enforcement and intelligence officials, it is believed that between $3 billion and $6 billion is laundered annually. Other sources of demand for BMPE dollars include capital outflows by Colombian residents, who seek either to conceal the funds from the Colombian authorities or simply to take advantage of the favorable BMPE exchange rate.

The BMPE system and the contraband imports it finance would likely have faded in significance following the liberalization of exchange controls in the early 1990s. However, narcotics traffickers increased their reliance on the system to launder their illicit drug proceeds. Continued Colombian trade restrictions and high tariffs, coupled with the fact that the growing supply of "narco-dollars" lowers the BMPE exchange rate to a level below the official rate, act to perpetuate this money laundering scheme.

To combat the BMPE, the U.S. Government has proposed the formation of an international task force of experts from Colombia, Aruba, Panama, and Venezuela to examine the BMPE as a money laundering system. As proposed, the BMPE task force would report its findings and recommended policy options to senior government officials from the respective jurisdictions. Pending agreement by all involved governments, the first meeting of the task force could occur as soon as June 2000.

Money Services Businesses (MSBs)

The United States has categorized businesses that offer alternative financial services as MSBs. The use of currency exchange houses and money remittance businesses to dispose of criminal proceeds remains among the most often cited threats in our domestic fight against financial crimes. The prolific use of the wire remitter industry by narcotics organizations is evidenced by historical data obtained from the prior Geographical Targeting Order (GTO) covering metropolitan New York City, northern New Jersey, and Puerto Rico, and from the various wire remitter investigations that are ongoing across the country.

Criminal organizations are drawn to the use of wire transmitter businesses because they provide a swift and relatively anonymous means of laundering their money. Their preference for this mode is enhanced by the lack of money laundering regulations and controls imposed on the wire transmitter industry by the government. Although wire transmitter businesses are subject to the currency transaction reporting provisions of BSA, they are not currently required to file suspicious activity reports when they become aware of possible criminal activity occurring through their institutions. Non-bank wire remitters, are being illegally used in the following ways:

 

Structuring

The traffickers or associates will go from transmitting agent to transmitting agent, with cash, conducting wire transfers in amounts under the reporting requirements ($10,000) in order to evade the Currency Transaction Report (CTR) filing requirements. This method, known as "smurfing," began with banks in the 1980s.

Collusion:

The rogue transmitting agent may agree, for a fee, to take sums greater than $10,000 and upon depositing the money with the bank, have the CTR filed in his name, thus effectively insulating the trafficker. The transmitting agent may attempt to structure the deposit with his own financial institution in order to evade the filing requirement.

Direct Ownership:

The trafficker may purchase a transmitting outlet and install his associate as the agent. This can be done at very little cost and would allow wholesale transmission of funds abroad.

The Hawala System

The hawala (or hundi) alternative (or parallel) remittance system is the key factor in money laundering and other financial crimes committed in and associated with South Asia. It is closely related to the "black" or "off the books" economies in the region. The size of the underground economies in South Asia are estimated to be 50 to 100 percent the size of the "white" or "documented" economies.

Hawala operates on trust and connections ("trust" is one of several meanings associated with the word "hawala"). Customers trust hawala "bankers" or "operators" (known as hawaladars) who use their connections to facilitate money movement worldwide. Hawala transfers take place with little, if any, paper trail, and, when records are kept, they are usually kept in code. Contrary to various media reports, hawala is an ancient system; it was the primary money transfer mechanism used in South Asia prior to the introduction of Western banking. Today, hawala continues to be used for many legitimate transfers for cultural reasons, and it also often operates in conjunction with Western banking operations.

In 1999, there were significant developments in "Operation Seek and Keep." This Operation concerned the investigation of an international alien smuggling and money laundering ring. Aliens were smuggled from South Asia to the United States. Many of the aliens' had their fees paid by U.S. businessmen, who were in effect purchasing indentured servants to help them operate a variety of businesses. The Operation Seek and Keep Task Force, which consisted of representatives from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, FinCEN, Internal Revenue Service, Customs Service, Postal Inspection Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation identified both the routes by which aliens were smuggled and the means by which the proceeds from this operation were laundered. In late 1998, all but a handful of the major subjects in this case were apprehended. In 1999, most of these subjects began prison sentences, and work is continuing to locate the remaining fugitives.

Hawala was the primary means by which money was moved by the alien smugglers, and the hawala operators assisted them with laundering the criminal proceeds and the arrangements for payment of alien smuggling fees. Throughout 1999, members of the Task Force analyzed telephone and other transcripts and conducted detailed interviews with several of the subjects to develop a fuller understanding of the financial aspects of the case. This work resulted in the identification of an account belonging to a Dubai-based firm that appears to have been a party to the money laundering operations. This account is now the object of an asset forfeiture proceeding.

In another U.S. case, a nationwide network of criminals appears to be channeling money to a Dubai-based trading company. Once the money reaches Dubai, hawala is used to move it to various destinations in Asia and elsewhere.

In Pakistan, the newly established Musharraf government is attempting to recover national assets allegedly stolen by former (and deposed) Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. There are also similar allegations about former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her husband, Asif Zardari. Bhutto and Zardari are accused of having used a combination of hawala, offshore centers in Europe and Dubai-based businesses to launder money.

Dubai, India and Pakistan form a "hawala triangle" responsible for significant international money laundering activities that go far beyond South Asia. While interdiction of non-bank money laundering systems such as hawala is difficult enough in itself, this difficulty is sometimes compounded by the lack of insufficient effective money laundering countermeasures in Dubai and the other Emirates.

The Market for Gold and Other Precious Metals

Gold is known to play a significant role in international money laundering. Gold, just like certain currencies (e.g., the U.S. dollar, Swiss franc, and British pound) is a nearly universal commodity for international commerce. The attractiveness and value of a particular currency depend on a complex and often unstable variety of political and economic conditions. Gold has been a key medium of exchange since antiquity and will, in fact, most likely always enjoy this position, as it appears nearly immune to the consequences of changing global fortunes.

Gold serves as both a commodity and, to a lesser extent, a medium of exchange in money laundering conducted in Latin America, the United States, Europe and Asia. In this cycle, for example, gold bullion makes its way to Italy via Swiss brokers. There it is made into jewelry, much of which is then shipped to Latin America. In Latin America, this jewelry (or the raw gold from which it was made) then becomes one, if not the most important, of the commodities in the black market peso exchange. Other commodities include various consumer goods and electronic equipment.

Gold is often shipped from South America to the United States where it is refined and sold to domestic customers. Payments owed for the imported gold are documented as being used to pay for goods shipped to South America. This scheme also serves, often fraudulently, as a source of U.S. dollars for the black market peso exchange. Often, the sales to the domestic customers are made through jewelry supply distributors to individuals who are "engaged in jewelry manufacture." Some of the gold thus obtained is cast and disguised as shapes that resemble common objects such as nuts, bolts or tools. These items are then smuggled out of the United States back to the South America. The cycle can then repeat over and over. This gold scheme has the capacity to launder hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal proceeds and defraud the foreign countries of millions of dollars of tax revenue.

In money laundering associated with the hawala (hundi) alternative remittance system (or practices based on or associated with it), gold often plays a somewhat different role: that of the primary medium of exchange in certain transactions. Even though many hawala transactions take place without a gram of gold, many of these transactions moving money to South Asia involve gold for two reasons: first, the combined historical, religious and cultural importance gold enjoys in the region; and second, the increasing distrust in the value of local currencies. (Many South Asian nations prohibit speculation on their currencies, and exchange rates are fixed by the central banks). Worldwide, gold is often used as a hedge against inflation. In South Asia, gold is often the primary means of preserving and protecting wealth.

In one case, a gold dealer operating in a major U.S. metropolitan area was also operating as the "banker" for various jewelry shops in the region. These jewelry shops give him the checks and cash they receive for purchases, and he processes these through his own bank accounts. In return, he gives them gold scrap and gold jewelry for use in their businesses. He retains a few percentage points of the money he receives from them for his "services" (as well as the legal risk he is incurring). The owners of the jewelry shops do not have to deal with the bureaucracy of banking and, because there is almost no paper trail of their sales, they enjoy a greatly reduced tax liability.

In another case, an U.S.-based hawaladar (hawala operator) is facilitating the smuggling of aliens from South Asia to the United States. He receives payments from people who want to have aliens smuggled. He then makes contact with a hawaladar in South Asia, and instructs him to make the necessary payment to an alien smuggler. In order to settle his accounts with the South Asian hawaladars, the U.S. hawaladar sends U.S. postal money orders to a precious metals house in the Persian Gulf. This allows the South Asian hawaladars to receive payment in gold, held either by the precious metals house in their name or delivered to them in South Asia.

In both these cases, currency is being converted into gold. Even though the first case does not involve hawala transfers, many of the techniques associated with hawala (e.g., coded documents, the use of gold) are present, and, because most of the participants in this case are South Asian, it underscores the cultural significance that is attached to gold there. In the second case, there is no doubt that gold is the preferred medium of exchange, and the thriving gold markets in the Persian Gulf make the necessary conversions and payments possible.

What Can be Done to Combat Money Laundering

In an electronic world in which the banking system operates through linked computers 24 hours a day, there must be increased global emphasis upon thorough vetting of personal, company and financial institution accounts at the bank of origin. There is no substitute for a thorough know-your-customer policy, especially as applied to those placing currency into the system and converting it to an account susceptible to immediate transfer outside the jurisdiction.

Considerable attention also must be focused by anti-money laundering authorities on establishing international standards, obtaining agreements to exchange information, establishing linkages for cooperative investigations, and overcoming political resistance in various key jurisdictions to ensure such cooperation.

Governments need laws and regulations that: establish corporate criminal liability for bank and non-bank financial institutions for money laundering violations; apply to all financial transactions, not just to cash transactions at the teller's window; apply anti-money laundering measures to serious crimes, not just drug trafficking; criminalize investments in legitimate industry if the investment proceeds were derived from illegal acts; and enable the sharing of financial and corporate ownership information with law enforcement agencies and judicial authorities.

Governments also need strategies that focus on changes in both the operations of financial systems and the methods criminals develop to exploit them--strategies that look at specific governments and specific financial systems.

U.S. Money Laundering Countermeasures

The National Money Laundering Strategy For 1999

In light of the ongoing threats posed by money laundering, Congress recently passed, and the President signed, the Money Laundering and Financial Crimes Strategy Act of 1998, which calls for the development of a five year anti-money laundering Strategy. The National Money Laundering Strategy for 1999 is the first of five annual reports to be submitted to Congress.

The Strategy is organized around four broad goals: strengthening domestic enforcement; enhancing the measures taken by banks and other financial institutions; building stronger partnerships with state and local governments; and bolstering international cooperation. It sets forth an ambitious agenda of actions designed to advance these goals. It establishes a Steering Committee led by the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and the Deputy Attorney General, to oversee implementation. Treasury will work with Departments of Justice and State and other existing anti-money laundering experts within U.S. Government, and will provide the U.S. Congress with a second of five National Money Laundering Strategy annual reports in February 2000. An additional 180-day review of the Strategy will begin in March 2000.

Specifically, the Strategy calls for (1) designating high-risk money laundering zones at which to direct coordinated law enforcement efforts; (2) rules requiring the scrutiny of suspicious activities in a range of financial institutions, from money transmitters to broker-dealers and casinos; (3) submission of the Administration's Money Laundering Act of 1999, to bolster the domestic and international crimes-from arms trafficking to public corruption and fraud-subject to U.S. money laundering prosecutions; (4) a 90-day review of measures that would restrict the use of correspondent accounts in the United States by certain offshore or other institutions that pose money laundering risks; and (5) intensified pressure on nations that lack adequate counter-money laundering controls to adopt them. The following are priority Strategy action items which will be implemented immediately:

  • Promote adoption of supervisory and regulatory actions (to include items such as increased regulatory reporting, increased external and internal audits, differentiated risk weights or provisioning) in response to specified jurisdictions that fail to make progress in implementing effective international standards, including those related to money laundering.
In an effort to apply pressure to jurisdictions where lax controls invite money laundering, Treasury will conduct a 90-day review of issues involving non-compliant offshore jurisdictions. Federal bank regulators and law enforcement officials will examine what guidance would be appropriate to enhance the scrutiny of correspondent bank accounts in the United States maintained by certain offshore and other financial institutions that pose money laundering risks.
  • As part of Treasury's effort to understand the implications of counter-money laundering programs for personal privacy, it will conduct a 180-day review in which it will expand on and outline privacy protection efforts in the context of anti-money laundering programs.

  • The Strategy encourages regulatory and cooperative public-private efforts to prevent money laundering. It enhances the defenses of U.S. financial institutions against use by international criminal organizations. Thus, Treasury and Justice will convene a high-level working group of federal bank regulators and law enforcement officials to examine what guidance would be appropriate to enhance bank scrutiny of certain transactions or patterns of transactions in potentially high-risk accounts. The federal bank supervisory agencies, in cooperation with Treasury, will conduct a review of existing bank examination procedures relating to the prevention and detection of money laundering at financial organizations.

  • The Strategy assures that all types of financial institutions are subject to effective Bank Secrecy Act requirements. As such, Treasury will issue a final rule for the reporting of suspicious activity by money service businesses and casinos, and it will work with the Securities and Exchange Commission to propose rules for the reporting of suspicious activity by brokers and dealers.

  • The Strategy calls for the improvement of coordination and effectiveness of international enforcement efforts. The G-7 nations will be urged to consider an initiative to harmonize rules relating to international funds transfers so that the originators of the transfers will be identified. In addition, Treasury, State and Justice will consider establishing a program to deny or revoke visas in all cases where couriers are being used to repatriate drug currency.

  • Treasury and Justice, in an effort to identify and target major money laundering systems, will issue joint memoranda to investigators and prosecutors recommending that investigative and prosecutorial guidelines include considerations for below-threshold cases that offer the potential of having a systemic or financial sector-wide effects on money laundering.

  • Treasury, in consultation with Justice, will begin designation of High-Risk Money Laundering and Related Financial Crimes Areas (HIFCAs) and inaugurate the Financial Crime-Free Communities Support (C-FIC) program. This program will help strengthen partnerships between federal, state and local governments to fight money laundering throughout the United States.

  • The Strategy shepherds the coordinated efforts of the Congress, states and localities, the private sector and the international community, and it lays out a road map for combating money laundering and other financial crimes.
International Crime Control Strategy

On May 12, 1998, President Clinton released the first International Crime Control Strategy in U.S. history. The Strategy provides a framework for integrating all facets of the federal government's response to international crime. It is an outgrowth of Presidential Decision Directive 42 (discussed below). One of the eight goals of the Strategy is to counter financial crime. This reflects the high priority that the United States attaches to preventing the continued use of financial instruments and systems in the perpetuation of international crime.

The objectives of the Strategy to fight financial crime include combating money laundering by denying criminals access to financial institutions and by strengthening enforcement efforts to reduce inbound and outbound movement of criminal proceeds.

Other objectives include seizing assets of international criminals through aggressive use of forfeiture laws and enhancing bilateral and multilateral cooperation against all financial crime by working with foreign governments to establish or update enforcement tools and standards.

Finally, one of the more important objectives is the targeting of offshore centers for international fraud, counterfeiting, electronic access device schemes and other financial crimes. During 1999, this sector became an important global focus for numerous countries and multilateral organizations as noted in the offshore financial centers chapter in this report.

As can be seen throughout this report, the administration is fully engaged in implementing all aspects of the Strategy's components to counter financial crime.

Presidential Decision Directive (PDD)-42

During 1995 the President signed PDD-42, ordering the Departments of Justice, State, and Treasury, the Coast Guard, the National Security Council, the intelligence community, and other federal agencies to increase and integrate their efforts against international crime syndicates and money laundering.

During 1999, U.S. officials continued efforts to address PDD-42, specifically targeting the nation's fight against international crime by going after the profits of crime. In consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Treasury has been identifying the most egregious overseas sanctuaries for illegally obtained wealth and negotiating with those governments to end the safe havens sought by international criminals. Negotiations have resulted in strengthened anti-money laundering regimes and weakened safe haven status. United States authorities have improved coordination among themselves and expanded cooperative programs with foreign law enforcement agencies. Training and technical assistance have been targeted to assist foreign police forces, prosecutors, judges, and bank supervisors to become more effective crime fighting agencies, while strengthening and generating contacts for information-sharing with U.S. counterparts.

A key component of the International Crime Control Strategy and PDD-42 has been the imposition of sanctions under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The U.S. now has at its disposal two powerful economic sanctions options against narcotics traffickers, the entities they own or control, and those persons acting for them or supporting their narcotics trafficking activities.

In addition to IEEPA, the U.S. Government also will use the new Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act ("the Kingpin Act"). In December of 1999, the President signed into law the Kingpin Act, which provides him with a statutory framework for imposing sanctions against foreign drug kingpins when such sanctions are appropriate. The Kingpin Act is modeled after the highly effective Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers ("SDNT") program that Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") administers against the Colombian cartels pursuant to Executive order 12978, which was issued in October, 1995 under the authority of IEEPA. Nearly 500 individuals and entities have been identified as SDNT's in the five years since the Colombia program's inception.

Both the Kingpin Act and the IEEPA-SDNT program prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in transactions, trade and services involving foreign narcotics kingpins and derivative designees. The objective of both laws is to deny drug kingpins, their businesses and agents access to the U.S. financial system and to the benefits of trade and transactions involving U.S. businesses and individuals. The long-term effectiveness of designations under the Kingpin Act, as well as designations under an IEEPA program, will depend heavily upon Treasury's authority to make derivative designations of entities and individuals as is being done in the IEEPA-SDNT program against Colombian cartels.

The Kingpin Act, moves beyond the IEEPA-SDNT Colombia model to target the activities of significant foreign narcotics traffickers ("drug kingpins") and their organizations on a worldwide basis. In keeping with PDD-42's emphasis on interagency cooperation, the Kingpin Act requires that the Departments of Treasury, Justice, State and Defense and the CIA coordinate to develop a list of recommended kingpins for presidential designation by June 1 of each year. The statute permits kingpin designations at other times as well.

In keeping with PDD-42's emphasis on international cooperation and collaborations, to the extent feasible, the United States will continue to coordinate carefully with the host government concerning the drug kingpins, and it will continue to work cooperatively with appropriate host governments authorities to pursue additional measures and leads against those significant foreign narcotics traffickers. For instance, the cooperation of the Government of Colombia has been important to the success of the IEEPA-SDNT program against narcotics cartels in that country.

Enforcement Cases

Cayman Island Bank Assist Russian Money Launderers

The FBI conducted an undercover operation to determine the existence and extent of a Russian-based business using the United States to launder money. As a result of this investigation, the FBI found a Cayman Island bank being used to support money launderers in the United States and Russia.

The bank supplied the Russians and the FBI undercover agents with instructions on how to covertly bypass U.S. currency transaction reports and provide bogus merchandise invoices to enable the businesses to substantiate expending payments that in fact were deposits to the secreted offshore bank account.

An indictment was returned against the Chief Executive Officer of the Cayman Island bank for facilitating money laundering in the United States.

Diploma Mill College

A New Orleans-based FBI investigation into mail order colleges discovered an offshore money laundering operation facilitating the frauds. The investigation involved mail order correspondence schools that offered external degree studies. These entities solicited students through printed advertisements in magazines and major newspapers. These entities had a national and international student registration of over 15,000 students. However, none of these entities were recognized by any collegiate accrediting body.

The students being targeted by these entities were generating over $2 million per semester in student fees. The victim-students would pay their fees by check, credit card or bank draft. Approximately $36 million was obtained and laundered by the use of this deception to obtain students.

The mail order entities used many shell companies to conceal the source of the income they generated. Over 12 different bank accounts were located by the FBI. Some of the accounts owned or controlled by these entities were located in the Cayman Islands and were maintained under various company names. The accounts were used by the owners to buy drugs, produce pornographic movies, and establish a quasi-militia organization with anti-government objectives.

The investigation allowed the FBI to issue seizure warrants for bank accounts totaling over $10 million. Later, the home of a company official, valued at approximately $2 million, was forfeited to the FBI. All of the "university" officials were convicted of various charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.

Forfeiture Of $50,000,000

On May 27, 1999, a Federal Judge in the Southern District of Florida issued a final order forfeiting $50,000,000 to the United States. The funds represent the narcotics proceeds traceable to Paul Edward Hindelang. Hindelang, a convicted narcotics smuggler, plead guilty in the 1980's to importation of narcotics. The plea agreement signed by Hindelang called for him to forfeit all illegal proceeds generated through his narcotics trafficking. Based on information developed by the U.S. Customs Service and the Monroe County Sheriffs Office, an investigation was initiated into allegations that Hindelang failed to identify all his illegal assets. The investigation revealed that Hindelang concealed his narcotics proceeds through the use of nominee accounts in the names of individuals, associates and corporations in Switzerland, Turks and Caicos Islands, the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica and Panama.

This forfeiture represents the largest single forfeiture in the history of the Treasury Department and the largest single asset sharing disbursement, $25 million, to any law enforcement agency.

Forfeiture of Mustang Ranch

On July 9, 1999, the world famous Mustang Ranch Brothel in Story County, Nevada was forfeited to the U.S. Government based on a guilty verdict in a three-week jury trial. The trial was the result of a thirty-three-count indictment charging Joseph Conforte, A.G.E. Enterprises, A.G.E. Corporation and other individuals with money laundering, wire fraud and racketeering.

The indictment was based on a joint investigation between the U.S. Customs Service, Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that alleged Conforte, the owner of the Mustang Ranch, skimmed over $6 million from the Mustang Ranch during bankruptcy proceedings. Conforte laundered this money by opening bank accounts in fictitious names in Switzerland. Conforte, who remains a fugitive, utilized the laundered money to set up various corporations to re-purchase the Mustang Ranch from the IRS after it had been seized by the IRS for failure to pay back taxes.

Along with the Mustang Ranch, a restaurant, six parcels of land, a trailer park, and 264 acres of land were forfeited. The value of these properties is estimated to be in excess of $6 million. In addition, the jury issued a monetary judgment against A.G.E. Corporation and A.G.E. Enterprises in the amount of $20,000,000 each. The total amount of the forfeiture ordered by the jury is in excess of $46,000,000.

Former Mexican Deputy Attorney General Arrested On Money Laundering Charges

On August 26, 1999, at the conclusion of a four-year investigation, former Mexican Deputy Attorney General Mario Ruiz Massieu was arrested by the U.S. Customs Service pursuant to an indictment returned in Houston, Texas charging him with laundering over $9 million in narcotics proceeds. The investigation was initiated based on a request by the Mexican government for assistance in locating Massieu for questioning in the assassination of his brother Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, the former Secretary-General of Mexico's ruling political party, Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI).

The U.S. Customs Service arrested Ruiz Massieu in 1995 as he attempted to depart the U.S. without reporting over $46,000 in currency. The ensuing investigation revealed that between 1993 and 1995, twenty-five cash deposits totaling over $9 million were made to an account in the name of Mario Ruiz Massieu. In 1997, following a civil trial in Houston, Texas, a federal jury ruled that the $9 million in Massieu's account were proceeds derived from drug trafficking and forfeited the money to the United States.

Offshore Comes Onshore

Owen K. Stephenson and Ronald G. Sparks were indicted in November, 1998 on 30 counts of mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. The two California men had conspired to run an Anadarko bank scheme that fraudulently pulled in more than $7,000,000 from investors and depositors.

Sparks and Stephenson initially met with Apache tribal officials in November, 1996 to discuss creating a tribal bank that would provide low-interest loans to Apache Tribal members. In order to establish the framework for the bank, in April, 1997, the Apache Business Committee enacted a banking code, by which First Americans Bank, LTD was created. However, by May, 1997, Sparks and Stephenson, while continuing negotiations with the Apache Tribe, were already advertising on the Internet for investors and depositors. They boasted of giving "offshore" banking secrecy using the sovereignty of the Apache Tribe in Oklahoma.

Once the money was received from unsuspecting investors and depositors, it was deposited in corporate accounts Sparks and Stephenson controlled at Citizens Bank in Lawton, Oklahoma.

Sparks and Stephenson were both tried and convicted of money laundering, mail fraud and conspiracy. Sparks was sentenced to 11 years and 3 months in prison and ordered to pay over $6,000,000 in restitution. Stephenson is currently a fugitive.

Offshore Money Laundering Operation

John M. Matthewson of San Antonio, Texas, former chairman and owner of Guardian Bank && Trust recently was sentenced in August 1999 to six months home confinement followed by five years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud, and assisting clients in tax evasion. The light sentence was due to Mr. Matthewson's deteriorating health and his willingness to share information with authorities.

The scheme established by Matthewson involved the establishment of shell corporations and the opening of offshore bank accounts in fictitious names at Guardian Bank and Trust, a Cayman Island Bank. As part of the scheme, from 1990 to 1994 Guardian Bank received payments from U.S. depositors and, in return, provided false and inflated sales invoices to create the appearance that goods and services were purchased and the transactions were legitimate. Matthewson instructed his bank to issue bogus invoices, which allowed the depositors' businesses to take fraudulent tax deductions on federal tax returns.

Matthewson also arranged the issuance of Visa gold credit cards in the names of anonymous IBCs that permitted U.S. depositors access to their money in the offshore account without revealing the existence or ownership of the account. Matthewson further assisted in the creation of Dutch corporations that were used to issue sham mortgages that gave the appearance that depositors of his bank were borrowing money from a legitimate lender. These sham mortgages allowed depositors to use unreported funds from their offshore accounts at Guardian, to create sham tax deductions for mortgage interest, and to redeposit mortgage interest into secret offshore accounts.

Operation Calecia

Benito Ramos-Salcido and Sergio Campo-Salcido were the leaders of a Mexican drug organization until Benito Ramos-Salcido was murdered in 1996. Sergio Campo-Salcido allegedly continued to direct the smuggling of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine into the United States and used the proceeds to purchase pieces of real estate in California in the names of his wife, Raquel Trujillo-Yanez, Benito Ramos-Salcido's widow, Claudia Mendoza-Ibarra, and CLRA, Inc., a company owned by the two women. Trujillo and Mendoza used CLRA, Inc. and these properties as a means to launder the proceeds generated by the drug organization. John L. Matkin acted as a business manager and assisted the organization in the purchase and development of the properties. All four were indicted on money laundering conspiracy and narcotics conspiracy charges. Mendoza and Matkin pleaded guilty to the money laundering charges while Campos and his wife are fugitives believed to be living in Mexico. In the United States, the case involved the seizure of real estate valued at $4 million, jewelry worth $180,000, and $27,000 in cash. As a result of cooperation between IRS and Mexican authorities, records were supplied to the Mexican officials who seized approximately $9 million from Mexican bank accounts controlled by Campos, Trujillo and Mendoza. This money is in the process of being forfeited. The Mexican Office of the Attorney General (PGR) and the Secretariat of the Treasury (Hacienda) are also attempting to locate real property assets owned by the targets in Northern Mexico for possible forfeiture.

Operation Juno

Operation Juno was initiated after the seizure of approximately 386 kilograms of liquid cocaine, which had been concealed and shipped in frozen fish from Cartagena, Colombia, in July, 1995, and shipped under the name of the Colombian company "COLAPIA S.A.," whose U.S. distribution center was in the Atlanta area. The subsequent investigation of "COLAPIA S.A." indicated that the company owner was a partner of Arfranio ("Phanor") Arizabaleta Arzayur, a prominent Cali, Colombia, narcotics trafficker. The operation resulted in the indictments of Armando Mogollon, Hector Fabio Botero, Juan Montoya, Juan Carolos Arias, and Samuel Vallejo, all of Colombia. The indictments charged that from October, 1996 to August, 1999 the defendants conspired to launder drug money and traffic in narcotics.

In September 1996, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began an undercover money laundering "sting" investigation called "Operation Juno," based out of a rented office building in suburban Atlanta. DEA and IRS Special Agents gained permission from the Attorney General to open a legitimate stockbrokerage firm, which served to validate the undercover money laundering operation. No stock trades were ever executed through the undercover stockbrokerage firm.

Members of the Arzayur organization referred Operation Juno to other drug trafficking organizations in need of financial and money laundering services. At the request of one of the five indicted defendants in this case, Operation Juno picked up drug proceeds usually ranging between $100,000 and $500,000 in U.S. currency. Pickups were made in Dallas, Houston, New York, Newark, Providence, Miami, Chicago, Madrid, Spain, and Rome, Italy. Juno later wire-transferred the monies from the collection city to an undercover bank account in Atlanta.

Along with the five named defendants, 40 arrests have been made in the United States during the course of the investigation. In addition, 15 other defendants are in the process of being arrested in New York and Chicago. Civil seizure warrants are also being brought against bank accounts worldwide. Approximately $26 million in drug proceeds were targeted for seizure. $10 million was seized during the investigation, and the balance is being seized in 59 accounts at 34 U.S. banks, and 282 accounts at 52 foreign banks.

Bilateral Activities

Training and Technical Assistance

During 1999, a number of U.S. law enforcement and regulatory agencies provided training on money laundering countermeasures and financial investigations to their law enforcement, financial regulatory, and prosecutorial counterparts around the globe. These courses have been designed to give financial investigators, bank regulators, and prosecutors the necessary tools to recognize, to investigate, and to prosecute money laundering, financial crimes, and related criminal activity. Courses have been provided at U.S. locations as well as within the jurisdictions to which the programs were targeted.

Department of State

The Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) developed a fiscal year 1999 $3.4 million dollar program for providing law enforcement, prosecutorial and central bank training to countries around the globe. A prime focus of the training program was a multi-agency approach to develop or enhance financial crime and anti-money laundering regimes in selected jurisdictions. Supported by and in coordination with INL, the Department of Justice (DOJ), Treasury Department component agencies, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (FRB), and non-government organizations offered law enforcement, regulatory and criminal justice programs worldwide.

During 1999, INL funded over 70 programs to combat international financial crimes and money laundering in 40 countries. Nearly every federal law enforcement agency assisted in this effort by providing basic and advanced training courses in all aspects of financial criminal activity. In addition, many federal agencies were provided funding to conduct multiagency financial crime assessments and develop specialized training in specific jurisdictions worldwide to address assessment findings.

In May, 1999, an INL-led multi-agency team delivered a weeklong money laundering seminar in Ankara, Turkey, which focused on investigative techniques, suspicious transactions reporting, information systems, mutual legal assistance and organized crime. The audience included members of the Turkish judiciary, police, customs, banking community, and FIU. A similar November, 1999 seminar in Nicosia, Cyprus, dealt with money laundering on the Internet, offshore financial centers, bank secrecy, Russian organized crime, and wire transfers.

Also in 1999, INL led a team from DOJ, the U.S. Customs Service, DEA, and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors that conducted a weeklong money laundering and training assessment in Lebanon. The team met with Lebanese law enforcement, banking and judicial personnel, as well as U.S. embassy officials.

As in previous years, INL training programs continue to focus on the interagency approach and bring together, where possible, law enforcement, judicial and central bank authorities in assessments and training programs. This approach allows for an exchange of information and a dialogue usually not undertaken by those attending the training seminars. This approach has proven successful in various parts of the globe, from Asia, Central and South America, Russia, the New Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union, and Central Europe. INL also provides funding for many of the regional training and technical assistance programs offered by the various law enforcement agencies, including those at the International Law Enforcement Academies (ILEA).

The following summary provides a glimpse of training activities undertaken in 1999 by U.S. law enforcement agencies.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

International Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Seminars are a part of the U.S. Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration Office of Training, International Training Section. The intent of these seminars is to share, compare, and contrast U.S. legislation with that of other countries, building a relationship and fostering communications with foreign narcotics enforcement and prosecutorial personnel. On average, the yearly budget allotted is $420,000 to complete five seminars. Each seminar provides instruction to 35 to 50 high-level drug law enforcement and money laundering specialists.

DEA's primary focus for its training courses include specialized training for central bank regulators, police and customs officials, and prosecutors. Course materials include training in U.S. asset forfeiture laws, asset and financial gathering techniques, financial investigation techniques, case studies, document exploitation, and international banking.

Training is designed for one-week seminars involving lectures, presentations, case studies, and practical application exercises. Guest lecturers are utilized from various areas of the U.S. Government: The Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, the U.S. Customs Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, and bank regulators, as well as from various divisional offices of DEA.

This training is focused on cultures with economic systems developed enough to accommodate money laundering activities. All seminars are conducted in country. During 1999, seminars were conducted in the following locations: Brussels, Belgium; Dublin, Ireland; Bangkok, Thailand and Bogota, Colombia.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

The Federal Bureau of Investigation/Money Laundering Unit (MLU) conducts training with the goal of providing international law enforcement with the ability to adequately investigate all forms of money laundering. The training emphasizes the techniques that money launderers use to conceal or disguise the true nature of illicit cash proceeds and provides law enforcement with the ability to trace the location, source, or ownership of these proceeds.

The FBI has either exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction over 133 of the 164 "Specified Unlawful Activities" (SUAs) under the United States money laundering statutes. This background has allowed the FBI to gain extensive experience in unconventional money laundering methodologies associated with various SUAs in areas such as organized crime, drugs, violent crime and white collar crime. This experience places the FBI in a unique position to provide expert training in traditional and non-traditional money laundering investigations that transcend SUAs. The FBI has also provided experts for advanced training in the areas of emerging technologies such as digital cash, smart cards, Internet banking, the Black Market Peso Exchange and bulk cash shipments. Further, FBI provides technical assistance for the new weapons that law enforcement can utilize to investigate money laundering such as Geographic Targeting Orders, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and Suspicious Activity Report Task Forces.

The FBI provides training independently and in conjunction with other federal, state, and local agencies within the United States and internationally. The FBI/MLU has worked with the United Nations in conferences to provide a United States perspective on successful tactics used to disrupt and dismantle money laundering enterprises. On other occasions, the FBI has provided independent money laundering training and briefings at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia and at FBI headquarters, in Washington, D.C.

During 1999, the FBI participated in money laundering training courses in: Santiago, Chile; Bogota, Colombia; Nicosia, Cyprus; London, the United Kingdom; Tokyo, Japan; and Auckland, New Zealand. Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).

During 1999, FLETC conducted numerous law enforcement programs at its Glynco, Georgia facility and internationally. As part of its training program, FLETC conducted two International Banking & Money Laundering Training Programs during the year. One course was held in Tyumen, Russia and was attended by 48 students. The other course was delivered to 40 students in Kiev, Ukraine.

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

FinCEN, the U.S. financial intelligence unit (FIU), has an international training program that focuses on providing training and technical assistance to a broad spectrum of foreign government officials, financial regulators, law enforcement personnel, and bankers. This training covers a wide variety of topics, including money laundering typologies, the creation and operation of FIUs, establishment of comprehensive anti-money laundering regimes (including assistance in the drafting of anti-money laundering legislation), computer systems architecture and operations, and assessments of country-specific money laundering regimes and regulations.

FinCEN also works closely with the Egmont Group of FIUs in providing training and technical assistance to various jurisdictions in establishing and operating their own FIUs.

During 1999, FinCEN consulted with a number of jurisdictions including Ukraine and Chile, on drafting and revising their anti-money laundering legislation.

FinCEN also took part in a number of seminars on money laundering and investigative techniques (Moldova, Russia, Dominican Republic, Turkey, Cyprus), as well as seminars or high-level discussions specifically targeted on FIU development (Bulgaria, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Russia).

During the course of the year, FinCEN hosted numerous foreign visitors and provided orientation and training in FIU development and various money laundering related topics, including officials from Paraguay, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Jamaica, El Salvador, Brazil, People's Republic of China, Thailand, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, and Panama.

FinCEN also provided technical assistance to Bolivia regarding equipment for Bolivia's FIU.

Internal Revenue Service

The Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS) International Training Program is one segment of the IRS International Strategy. IRS focuses its training on investigative techniques courses involving financial crime and money laundering. The goal of this training is to provide assistance to foreign governments in establishing or enhancing money laundering, criminal tax and asset forfeiture laws. In addition the training program provides assistance in the investigation of violations of these laws and promotes enhanced anti-money laundering regimes that conform to international standards.

IRS develops and conducts training courses independently, as well as with other agencies. In some instances these courses are developed jointly with other law enforcement agencies to address a specific need. IRS participates on an ad hoc basis with other agencies as part of their curriculum and correspondingly invites other agencies to participate in IRS training.

Training lead by IRS during 1999 included:

  • Financial Investigative Techniques training in Budapest, Hungary, Khabarovsk, Russia and Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Money laundering training in Vilnius, Lithuania, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and Bogota, Colombia.
  • Advanced Money Laundering training in Mexico City, Mexico.
  • Suspicious Activity Report utilization training in Mexico City, Mexico.
  • Complex Financial Investigations training in Bangkok, Thailand taught jointly with the U.S. Customs Service.
IRS participates in the core course program at ILEA Budapest, ILEA Southeast Asia and ILEA Western Hemisphere.

IRS also participated in training sponsored by other agencies in Russia, Uruguay, Mexico, Ghana, Moldova, Armenia and Romania.

Secret Service

The Secret Service continues to be extensively involved in training foreign government officials and law enforcement in the areas of financial fraud schemes and counterfeit U.S. currency investigations. This past year, the Secret Service taught foreign officials to identify and investigate violations that impact on their jurisdictions as well as those of the Secret Service. Specific financial fraud schemes involving credit cards, smart cards, electronic fund transfers, fictitious financial instruments, "419" advance fee fraud, cellular telephone fraud, skimming, telemarketing fraud, identity theft and other types of schemes were highlighted. These violations represent the underlying Specific Unlawful Activities (SUA's) that provide the nexus for the Secret Service to conduct money laundering investigations.

The goal of the Secret Service foreign training program is to train and assist the foreign participants with their financial systems, and to establish a permanent conduit for information exchange and liaison. The previously mentioned SUA's were highlighted in an effort to concentrate all available resources on the root of the criminal activity.

Training programs have varied depending on the foreign participants. The training initiatives throughout 1999 proved invaluable in fostering a heightened awareness for foreign government officials and law enforcement in the identification of systemic weaknesses within financial systems. In training foreign law enforcement officials, the Secret Service conducted comprehensive programs that included an emphasis on crimes involving electronic commerce.

Smart cards, generally issued by non-banking financial service providers, such as large brokerage houses, operate completely outside of any U. S. government regulations. This lack of regulatory oversight creates vulnerability as no record is created or maintained on the transfer of data. In theory, financial information and monetary funds can be accessed, manipulated, and transferred to or from an account, or from card to card, with no "footprint" being made. Systems that support this industry can move billions of dollars a day through computer networks that often are not regulated or controlled by any government entity.

Skimming is the unauthorized capture and replication of data from a person's credit card through the use of a small, hand-held device, which can later be used to download the information for illicit purposes. The ease and speed which information can be gathered and used for illegal purposes in a skimming operation represents a threat to financial institutions around the world. The Secret Service has trained foreign law enforcement officials about the type of equipment, manner of operation, and distribution methods for the information taken from unsuspecting credit card holders. It has been estimated by industry sources that skimming outside of the United States alone affects approximately one hundred seventy five different businesses per week. This large number of compromised points of sale has the potential to cause many millions of dollars in fraud losses.

During 1999, the Secret Service, using INL-provided funds, conducted training for foreign law enforcement and financial institutions in Hungary, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Thailand, and Romania. The Secret Service also independently conducted training for law enforcement and financial institutions in Romania, Bulgaria, Germany, the United Kingdom, Peru, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, France, the Netherlands and Italy.

This past year, Secret Service's Counterfeit Division, in conjunction with other U.S. Treasury agencies, participated in the International Currency Audit Program in Argentina, Chile, and Peru.

United States Customs Service

The U.S. Customs Service (USCS), Office of Investigations, Financial Investigations Division continues to be extensively involved in the INL-sponsored multi-agency international money laundering training program. Drawing on its expertise in undercover drug money laundering as well as traditional money laundering investigations related to all types of criminal activity, the USCS strives to impart its considerable experience to law enforcement, regulatory and banking officials of all jurisdictions identified by INL.

As host or co-host with numerous other federal agencies, the USCS conducted anti-money laundering and financial crime seminars domestically and abroad for officials from sixteen different jurisdictions. Approximately 1,220 students and officials received USCS anti-money laundering training in 1999. In addition, the USCS participated in a joint training program sponsored by the Department of Justice and the Mexican Attorney General's Office in Mexico City, Mexico.

The countries that received training in 1999 are: Australia, Belgium, Hong Kong, Republic of Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peoples Republic of China, Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey.

International Law Enforcement Academies (ILEAs)

Europe

The ILEA in Budapest, Hungary offers a core law enforcement training course targeted at mid-level managers in the police and criminal justice services of Central Europe and the New Independent States. Over 1,000 officials from 25 countries have successfully completed this course. In addition to this program, ILEA Budapest also offers regional seminars and specialized training courses. More than 1,500 criminal justice officials have participated in such courses.

Asia

The ILEA for Southeast Asia opened in March 1999, in Bangkok, Thailand. The curriculum and structure of this Academy is similar to that in Budapest, except for the duration of the core course and an added emphasis in narcotics matters. ILEA Bangkok also offers specialized courses in a wide range of topics. Over 600 officials from 10 Southeast Asian nations have attended these courses.

The Americas

For the Western Hemisphere, we offered a core course similar to Bangkok's - tailored to regional needs - for officials from Central America and the Dominican Republic. Two pilot courses were conducted in Panama in 1997 at a temporary site. Sixty-four participants attended these courses. All activities of this Academy have been temporarily suspended, pending a review to determine its permanent location.

Africa

Plans are well underway to establish an ILEA to serve the Southern Africa region. The overall format for this new Academy will be similar to the other three, adjusted to suit the needs of the region. The interagency group responsible for the ILEAs is taking steps aimed at the establishment and operation of an ILEA for Southern Africa.

Treaties and Agreements

Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) allow generally for the exchange of evidence and information in criminal and ancillary matters. In money laundering cases, they can be extremely useful as a means of obtaining banking and other financial records from our treaty partners. MLATs, which are negotiated by the Department of State in cooperation with the Department of Justice facilitate cooperation in criminal matters, including money laundering and asset forfeiture, are in force with the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, the Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, Grenada, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Panama, the Philippines, Poland, South Korea, Spain, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom with respect to its Caribbean overseas territories (the Cayman Islands, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands), and Uruguay. MLATs have been ratified by the United States but not yet brought into force with the following countries: Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, Dominica, Estonia, Luxembourg, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Venezuela. Additional MLATs have been signed, but are not yet in force with: Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Nigeria, Romania, Russia, South Africa, and Ukraine. The United States has also signed the Organization of American States MLAT. The United States is actively engaged in negotiating additional MLATS with countries around the world.

In addition, the United States has entered into executive agreements on forfeiture cooperation, including: (1) an agreement with the United Kingdom providing for forfeiture assistance and asset sharing in narcotics cases and (2) a forfeiture cooperation and asset sharing agreement with the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The United States has asset sharing agreements with Canada, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico, as well as exchanges of letters on asset sharing with Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, which supplement the MLAT between the United States and the United Kingdom on their behalf.

Financial Information Exchange Agreements (FIEAs) facilitate the exchange of currency transaction information between the U.S. Treasury Department and other finance ministries. The U.S. has FIEAs with Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela. In addition, Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has Memoranda of Understanding or exchanges of letters in place with the financial intelligence units (FIUs) of Argentina, Australia, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom to facilitate the exchange of information.

The United States has Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements (CMAAs) with the European Community and with the following jurisdictions: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Mongolia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Venezuela and Yugoslavia. (The U.S. view is that the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) has dissolved and that the CMAA continues to apply to the successors that formerly made up the SFRY - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).) CMAAs have also been signed, but are not yet in force, with the People's Republic of China and Turkey.

All of the agreements are patterned after a World Customs Organization Model CMAA. Since assistance can be provided in the enforcement of any laws related to customs, the U.S. Customs Service uses these agreements to assist in the gathering of information and evidence for criminal and civil cases involving trade fraud, smuggling, violations of export control laws, and most recently, in the growing effort to combat narcotics smuggling and money laundering.

Asset Sharing

Pursuant to the provisions of 18 U.S.C. � 981(i), 21 U.S.C. � 881(e)(1)(E), and 31 U.S.C. � 9703(h)(2), which permit the United States to share forfeited assets with foreign jurisdictions under certain conditions, the Departments of Justice, State and Treasury have aggressively sought to encourage foreign governments to cooperate in joint investigations of drug trafficking and money laundering, offering the inducement of sharing in forfeited assets. A parallel goal has been to encourage spending of these assets to improve narcotics law enforcement. The long-term goal has been to encourage governments to improve asset forfeiture laws and procedures, so that they will be able to conduct investigations and prosecutions of drug trafficking and money laundering which include asset forfeiture. The United States and its partners in the G-8 are currently pursuing an aggressive program to strengthen asset forfeiture and sharing regimes. To date, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Jersey, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have shared forfeited assets with the United States.

From 1989 through December 1999, the international asset sharing program, administered by the Department of Justice, resulted in the forfeiture in the United States of $386,431,072 of which $167,257,174 was shared with foreign governments which cooperated and assisted in the investigations. In 1999, the Department of Justice transferred forfeited proceeds to: Anguilla ($328,529); Colombia ($5,825,000); Ecuador ($14,328); Switzerland ($4,671,878); and the United Kingdom ($410,984). Prior recipients of shared assets (1989-1996) include: Argentina, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Guernsey, Hungary, the Isle of Man, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Paraguay, Romania, St. Maarten, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.

The international asset sharing program administered by the Department of Treasury has been in existence since 1995. In 1999, the program resulted in the forfeiture in the United States of approximately $7,889,000 of which $2,944,667 was shared with foreign governments which cooperated and assisted in the investigations. In 1999, the Department of Treasury transferred forfeited proceeds to: Canada ($42,119); Egypt ($999,187); Honduras ($139,720); Portugal ($85,840); Switzerland ($938,576); and the United Kingdom ($739,225). Prior recipients of shared assets (1995-1998) include: Aruba, the Bahamas, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Jersey, Mexico, Qatar, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Multilateral Activities

Financial Action Task Force

The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), which was established at the G-7 Economic Summit in Paris in 1989, is an inter-governmental body whose purpose is the development and promotion of policies to combat money laundering. These policies aim to prevent proceeds of crime from being utilized in future criminal activities and from affecting legitimate economic activities.

The FATF currently consists of 26 jurisdictions and two international organizations. Its membership includes the major financial center countries of Europe, North America and Asia. One of the guiding principles of the FATF is that money laundering is a complex economic crime which cannot be effectively controlled by conventional law enforcement methods alone, and that finance ministries, financial institutions, and regulators must work closely with law enforcement agencies in combating money laundering. Accordingly, the FATF is a multi-disciplinary body, bringing legal, financial and law enforcement experts into the policy-making process.

During 1999, FATF concluded its second round of mutual evaluations. Since FATF's creation in 1989, the 26 FATF countries and territories have now undergone two in-depth examinations of their anti-money laundering regimes. A large majority has reached an acceptable level of compliance with the forty Recommendations for combating money laundering, which were drawn up in 1990 and revised in 1996. Summaries of the mutual evaluation examinations (Spain, Finland, Luxembourg, Ireland, Hong Kong, China, New Zealand, Iceland, Singapore, Portugal, Turkey, Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles) which were conducted during FATF's tenth round of work (1998-1999) are contained in its latest annual report . In January 1999, the FATF carried out a mission to the Gulf Cooperation Council's headquarters in Riyadh to discuss how to improve the implementation of effective anti-money laundering systems among the GCC members.

In 1999, the FATF focused on several major initiatives. Perhaps the greatest achievement during 1999 was the addition of three new observer members. In September 1999, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico attended their first FATF Plenary Meeting and were officially welcomed as observers. Mutual evaluations of the three observer members are underway and the FATF hopes to complete all three mutual evaluations by June 2000. After each new observer member undergoes a successful mutual evaluation, it will become a full member. The FATF will continue to address the issue of new members this year with the goal of maintaining a certain level of geographical balance throughout the globe.

In February 1999, the FATF published its annual money laundering typologies report . This report discusses recent money laundering trends and methods, emerging threats, and significant countermeasures implemented by governments around the world. Law enforcement experts focused this year's typologies exercise on several specific issues. These include offshore financial centers and non-cooperative jurisdictions, vulnerabilities of new payment technologies, the potential use of the gold market in money laundering operations, and the use of large denomination banknotes and potential implications of the Euro currency changeover. The report highlights the importance of Suspicious Activity Reports and Financial Intelligence Units in preventing, detecting and prosecuting money laundering.

As a result of Austria's lack of compliance with the customer identification requirements of the FATF Forty Recommendations, the FATF issued a press release on February, 11, 1999 which expressed its deep concern regarding Austria's failure to take action to eliminate their anonymous savings "passbook" accounts. This warning asks FATF member governments to persuade the Government of Austria to put an end to these accounts and calls on financial institutions worldwide to give special attention to transactions associated with these accounts.

In response to the G-7 Finance Ministers Conclusions from the 1998 Birmingham Summit, the FATF formally created an Ad Hoc Group on Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories. This group has established criteria to define the rules and practices which characterize a non-cooperative country or territory. The Ad Hoc group is also expected to identify jurisdictions that pose a serious threat to the international community and recommend steps that can be taken by FATF and/or G-7 Finance Ministers to encourage such jurisdictions to comply with international norms. (See the offshore section of this report for further information regarding this effort.)

Also in relation to the G-7 Finance Ministers' 1998 Conclusions, the FATF discussed ways that anti-money laundering systems can "contribute to deal more effectively with tax related crimes." In this regard, in order to help close the "fiscal excuse" loophole in the reporting of suspicious transactions, FATF members adopted the following Interpretative Note to Recommendation 15:

In implementing Recommendation 15, suspicious transactions should be reported by financial institutions regardless of whether they are also thought to involve tax matters. Countries should take into account that, in order to deter financial institutions from reporting a suspicious transaction; money launderers may seek to state inter alia that their transactions relate to tax matters.

During 1999, an Ad Hoc Group was also created for Africa to coordinate anti-money laundering efforts and establish one or more FATF-style regional body(s). In November, the Eastern and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMG) was officially established with seven signatories to the group's Memorandum of Understanding . The formal establishment of a similar FATF-style regional body for the countries of central and western Africa (the Intergovernmental Task Force against Money Laundering in Africa - ITFML / Africa ) took place in December 1999 at the Summit of the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS). This group covers the 15 countries of West Africa, from Mauritania to Nigeria. These initiatives were warmly welcomed as they have furthered the increasing network of FATF-style bodies throughout the globe.

Work continued on the study to estimate the magnitude of money laundering in an Ad Hoc Group chaired by the United States. The purpose of this study is to confirm that money laundering is a significant element in the global financial system and to quantify the amount of money laundering activity. Each participating country has formed an advisory board of experts for the purpose of identifying the quantifiable sources of data. Once determined, this figure will allow policy makers and the public, through press reporting, to appreciate the critical value of anti-money laundering programs and their relationship to ensuring the integrity of the global financial system.

The United States hosted the 1999-2000 Experts Meeting on Money Laundering Typologies on November 18-19, 1999 in Washington, DC. This meeting represented the first time countries outside of the FATF participated in the FATF Typologies Exercise, making it an unprecedented and truly global review of anti-money laundering activity. In addition to sharing information on specific cases of money laundering activity within the jurisdictions in attendance, there were presentations describing on-line banking, alternative remittance systems, company formation agents and international trade. In early February 2000, the FATF released the 1999-2000 typologies report to the public.

Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG)

The Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) was formally established in February 1997 at the Fourth Asia/Pacific Money Laundering Symposium in Bangkok, Thailand. The APG currently consists of 17 members from South Asia, Southeast and East Asia and the South Pacific. The establishment of this group is a positive step toward recognizing that money laundering is a significant international issue which affects the Asia/Pacific region, and that jurisdictions within the region need to cooperate in combating money laundering. During the August 1999 annual meeting in Manila, the Republic of Indonesia joined the APG.

The APG conducted a typologies workshop in March, 1999, in Tokyo, Japan, addressing the issue of underground banking systems and money laundering. A significant outcome of the March workshop was the creation of a working group, which will study the problem of underground banking in more depth. It was also agreed that the APG should address the issue of improved control and monitoring of alternative remittance systems and underground banking during its consideration of additional measures to the 40 Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force. The next typologies meeting is scheduled for March 1-2, 2000 in Bangkok, Thailand and will focus on the use of false identities for money laundering purposes.

The APG held its Second Annual Meeting in Manila, the Philippines, on August 4-6,1999. The Asian Development Bank and the Philippines hosted the meeting. The APG has now agreed on a strategic plan that includes, among other initiatives, self-assessment exercises, mutual evaluations, a training strategy, typologies exercises, an annual report, and a members-only section of its meetings. The FATF 40 Recommendations have been reconfirmed as the basis for the work of the APG. Initial discussions are taking place on holding a financial services forum for the area, and a region-wide mutual legal assistance workshop is being considered. Four jurisdictions have agreed to undergo assessments of their level of international co-operation during the first quarter of 2000. The next annual general meeting of the APG will take place in early June, 2000, in Australia.

Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF)

The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, an FATF-style regional body comprised of 25 jurisdictions, continues to progress and to advance its anti-money laundering initiatives within the Caribbean basin. In October 1999, the British Virgin Islands assumed the Chairmanship of the CFATF, following the Cayman Islands.

Members of the CFATF subscribe to a Memorandum of Understanding that delineates the CFATF's mission, objectives and membership requirements. All members are required to make a political commitment to implement the 40 Recommendations of the FATF, as well as the CFATF's additional 19 Recommendations, and to undergo peer review in the form of mutual evaluations to assess their level of implementation of the Recommendations. Members are also required to contribute to the CFATF budget and to participate in the activities of the body. In October 1999, Spain joined the five original Cooperating and Supporting Nations (COSUNs) of CFATF (Canada, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States) bringing the number of COSUNs to six. All COSUNs are committed to providing financial and other support to the CFATF. Mexico has applied for COSUN status, pending its joint FATF-CFATF mutual evaluation, scheduled to occur in March 2000. The Inter-American Development Bank was welcomed as an observer organization in CFATF.

Several changes occurred within the CFATF Secretariat during 1999. In March 1999, Calvin Wilson, previously the CFATF's Deputy Director, was promoted to Executive Director of CFATF. Pierre LaPaque was seconded by the French Government to serve as CFATF's Deputy Director.

The CFATF mutual evaluation program made significant progress during 1999. The CFATF revised its mutual evaluation procedures setting a timetable for more expeditious completion and approval of evaluation reports. Six mutual evaluation on-site visits took place in 1999. Seven mutual evaluation reports were completed and approved by the CFATF Council of Ministers. In May 1999, the CFATF conducted a successful training program for its mutual evaluation examiners.

Also during 1999, the CFATF revised its 19 Recommendations, updating them to make them consistent with the revised FATF 40 Recommendations and the current money laundering situation in the region. A typologies exercise was conducted on the illegal trade in firearms and its impact on the drug trade and money laundering in the region.

Council of Europe (COE)

The Council of Europe's Select Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures (PC-R-EV) continued to make significant progress in its second year. Its mutual evaluation program is on schedule, with 7 mutual evaluation on-site visits conducted during 1999-to Andorra, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Liechtenstein, Poland, and Romania; an on-site visit to Estonia took place in January 2000. At the PC-R-EV's June 1999 plenary meeting, three mutual evaluation reports were adopted - on Andorra, Hungary, and Lithuania. Progress reports were provided by Cyprus and Slovenia. This brings the total number of on-site visits conducted to 15 since the inception of the PC-R-EV evaluation program in April 1998, with a total of 8 mutual evaluation reports adopted by the plenary (Andorra, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, and Slovenia). The terms of reference of PC-R-EV were amended in 1999 to permit the provision of technical assistance and to enable any interested FATF member government to follow the work of the PC-R-EV as an observer.

PC-R-EV conducted a typologies exercise February 7-11, 2000 in conjunction with its fifth plenary meeting. This exercise focused on organized crime and money laundering. Mutual evaluation reports on Liechtenstein, Poland, and Romania were adopted during the February plenary, with progress reports provided by the Czech Republic, Malta and Slovakia. A second training seminar for examiners is planned for fall 2000.

OAS/CICAD

During 1999, the Organization of American States Inter-American Commission on Drug Abuse Control (OAS/CICAD) carried out three major initiatives related to money laundering. These included:

  • A peer review process which will include indicators of progress in implementation of members' national anti-money laundering programs,

  • Several actions by the Experts Group on Money Laundering Control, most notably a revision of the Model Regulations on Money Laundering Control to reflect new elements such as expansion of predicate offenses to include serious crimes and mandatory suspicious transaction reporting, and;

  • Completion of on-site surveys to assess training needed by each CICAD member and to determine what courses will best assist them in implementation of the Buenos Aires Communiqu�.
Work on the peer review process established a Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) that continues to evolve on schedule. Agreement was reached on the process and framework for these evaluations in October 1999. It is anticipated that the first round of evaluations of all 34 OAS/CICAD member countries will begin sometime in the first half of 2000 and be concluded by December 2000.

CICAD's Experts Group on Money Laundering Control concluded the updating of the Model Regulations, the on-going assessment of countries' anti-money laundering activities under the Buenos Aires Action Plan, and two typologies exercises and provided guidance to the Secretariat on implementation of money laundering prevention training programs.

A needs assessment of five South American countries under the joint Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)/OAS pilot project for the prevention of money laundering in financial institutions was successfully concluded. Training, in the form of regional seminars, is expected to commence early in 2000. The OAS/CICAD Group of Experts has also identified two additional key areas for training and technical assistance: FIU development and the training of judges and prosecutors. OAS/CICAD has completed two variations of a project proposal for Judicial/Prosecutorial training and is now attempting to identify suitable donors. Finally, a project proposal for the funding of FIU development by the IDB is in the final stages of completion.

The United Nations

The United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) has played a major role in promoting understanding of the offshore financial sector. In June 1998, the ODCCP introduced to the General Assembly Special Session on Drugs the findings of a study it had commissioned. That study, Financial Havens, Banking Secrecy and Money Laundering, provided the first global view of the systemic risks inherent in the criminal abuse of the offshore financial services industry. The ODCCP, through its Global Program Against Money Laundering, has served a unique function as the only multinational global entity providing comprehensive anti-money laundering training and technical assistance to legislators, law enforcement officials, prosecutors and judges, regulators involved in compliance matters, as well as bankers and providers of other financial services.

In view of the activities of the OECD, the FATF and the FSF, there can be little question that many OFC jurisdictions will require training and technical assistance to create or improve their money laundering counter measures. The United Nations Offshore Forum (UNOF) will offer a comprehensive range of anti-money laundering training and technical assistance to offshore jurisdictions. Only those offshore jurisdictions that express a firm political commitment to adhering to a number of international standards and norms will be admitted to the program.

Believing that the cross-border sharing of information is vital to combat money laundering, particular emphasis will be placed on developing the infrastructure necessary to establish a financial intelligence unit. The UNOF plans to design a database, which will track global anti-money laundering programs. In addition to training and technical assistance, the UNOF is considering providing longer term on-site assistance to develop institutions and advise and assist on ongoing major money laundering investigations and prosecutions.

Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) and the Egmont Group

The fight against money laundering has been an essential part of the overall struggle to combat illegal narcotics trafficking and the activities of organized crime. The measures governments have developed to counter money laundering can also help stem corruption, terrorist financing, and other serious crime. Banks and other financial institutions are an important source for information about money laundering and other financial crimes.

In the 1990s, governments around the world began to work together to mitigate the corrosive dangers that unchecked financial crimes posed to their economic and political systems. To address this threat, many governments created specialized agencies to deal with the problem of money laundering. In the beginning, there was no unifying concept of what functions these agencies should perform, and it was almost by accident that they had in common the function of receiving and processing financial disclosures. At about this time, the heads of these organizations began to become more visible on national delegations represented in various international meetings and conferences. Through these informal contacts, they shared common experiences and determined that it might be useful to meet and discuss these commonalties. These first contacts led to a meeting on June 9, 1995 at the Egmont-Arenberg Palace in Brussels, Belgium to discuss financial intelligence units or FIUs. Chaired jointly by FinCEN and the Cellule de Traitement des Informations Financieres (CTIF) of Belgium, the meeting in Brussels enabled participants to become acquainted with the already existing FIUs (14 nations) and to open communication channels. Now known as the Egmont Group, these FIUs meet yearly to find ways to cooperate, especially in the areas of information exchange, training, and the sharing of expertise.

During the Egmont Plenary in November, 1996, in Rome, the Egmont Group came to an agreement on the definition of an FIU. FIUs are centralized agencies that, at a minimum, receive, analyze, and disclose to competent authorities information provided by financial institutions (and other mandated entities) concerning possible money laundering and other financial crimes. FIUs offer law enforcement agencies around the world an important new avenue for information collection and exchange.

The Egmont Group as a whole meets once a year, and working groups (Legal, Technology/Training, and Outreach) meet three times a year to discuss issues related to money laundering and to conduct common business. The Legal Working Group deals with exchange of information. The Technology/Training Working Group looks at ways to communicate more effectively, identifies training opportunities for FIU personnel and examines new software applications that might facilitate the analysis work of these personnel. A significant program developed by this working group is the FIU personnel exchange program. Exchanges between FIUs have occurred all over the globe with good results. The Outreach Working Group works to create a global network of FIUs to facilitate international cooperation. The Egmont Group has no secretariat. Administrative functions are shared by FIUs on a rotating basis.

There are currently 48 operational FIU units worldwide, with many others in various stages of development. FIUs operate in:

Aruba

Cyprus

Italy

Paraguay

Australia

Czech Republic

Jersey

Portugal

Austria

Denmark

Latvia

Slovakia

Belgium

Finland

Lithuania

Slovenia

Bermuda

France

Luxembourg

Spain

Bolivia

Greece

Mexico

Sweden

Brazil

Guernsey

Monaco

Switzerland

British Virgin Islands

Hong Kong

Netherlands

Taiwan

Bulgaria

Hungary

Netherlands Antilles

Turkey

Chile

Iceland

New Zealand

United Kingdom

Costa Rica

Ireland

Norway

United States

Croatia

Isle of Man

Panama

Venezuela

During the plenary meeting in May 1999, 10 new units (bolded above) joined the Egmont roster. One of the main goals of the Egmont Group is to create a global network of FIUs to facilitate international cooperation. Although FIUs operate differently, FIUs exchange information with their counterparts under certain specific conditions. This information could be suspicious or unusual transaction reports from the financial sector as well as government administrative data and public record information. Many FIUs can be of assistance in providing financial intelligence rapidly to other FIUs. One of the most significant accomplishments of the group's efforts has been the creation of a secure Internet web site. Egmont's International Secure Web System-developed primarily by FinCEN-permits members of the group to communicate with one another via secure e-mail, posting and assessing information regarding trends, analytical tools, and technological developments. In other words, this system provides the ability to facilitate practical, rapid exchanges of information that could enhance the efforts of the fight against money laundering. FinCEN, on behalf of the Egmont Group, maintains the Egmont Secure Web.

The ongoing development and establishment of FIUs exemplify how countries around the world continue to intensify their efforts to focus on research, analysis and information exchange in order to combat money laundering and other financial crimes.

Ideas for the Future

In addition to well-known technical elements to combat money laundering, the following concepts are being pursued to varying degrees around the world and are possible innovations to current international practice that would provide for greater reach for law enforcement authorities and less impunity for financial criminals.

Asserting Jurisdiction Over and Access To Records

Mutual legal assistance treaties are a major new mechanism by which jurisdictions may cooperate with one another in retrieving essential evidence of financial crimes. The UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime currently under negotiation in Vienna may create a universal system for mutual legal assistance in cases involving conspiracy and money laundering by organized crime. However, jurisdictions can exercise self-help as well, making the right to do business in their territory contingent on agreement to make records available to law enforcement authorities. Such a provision, if universally adopted, would do much to protect shareholders, depositors, and creditors from having no remedy in the event of something going wrong. Simultaneously, the G-8 and the Council of Europe need to complete their work on problems of high-tech and computer-related crime. This work includes the difficult jurisdictional issues raised by electronic communication and on rules for search, seizure and use of electronic records which may be located thousands of miles distant from where the crime itself took place. Progress on these issues will be necessary to reduce the threat posed if some jurisdictions do not require records to be maintained or do not permit records maintained in their jurisdiction to be accessed in cases involving financial crime.

Refusing To Accept Bank Secrecy In Cases Involving Financial Crime

Jurisdictions cannot protect their citizens or residents from financial crime if financial criminals are able to shield their criminal conduct through the use of bank secrecy. Jurisdictions that do not permit law enforcement authorities to gain access to financial records in cases involving allegations of criminal conduct from terrorism to tax crime turn themselves into safe havens for financial criminals. Just as the European Union has sued one of its members, Austria, to stop its issuance of anonymous passbook savings accounts, the Financial Action Task Force and other international bodies need to consider taking appropriate measures regarding jurisdictions that have become safe havens for financial criminals. Such measures need not be anything that would impair the ability of financial markets to function normally. Such an approach could develop into a two-tier system for international banking transactions. The top tier jurisdictions that provide the requisite access would have their transactions treated normally. Jurisdictions not permitting overseas regulators or law enforcement officials to have access to financial records would have their transactions subjected to additional regulatory or enforcement review, such as through an automatic presumption that the transaction is suspicious. This type of two-tier system would reflect the actual risks to the global financial system inherent in having portions of that system inaccessible to law enforcement investigations.

Eliminating Differential Treatment of Offshore Financial Center Transactions

The OFC concept is based on, in part, the notion that what is necessary to regulate transactions involving the citizens of one's own jurisdiction is not necessary in handling transactions involving the citizens of other jurisdictions. Its impact, however, has been to encourage some financial institutions to deliberately structure themselves so that they are not regulated by anyone. Recently, one such institution, Caymanx Bank, structured itself so that its operations in the Isle of Man were offshore to the Isle of Man because it was a subsidiary of an institution in the Cayman Islands. It was also offshore to the Cayman Islands because it was only doing business in the Isle of Man. As a result, its activities were effectively free of regulation, and its clients' records were advertised on the Internet as being free of oversight by the authorities of any jurisdiction. Whatever the economic justification for such differential treatment in the past, when national laws impose tariffs on many forms of economic activity, treating as offshore anyone's transactions one licenses makes no sense. Such differential treatment is especially inappropriate when everyone is using the same technological infrastructure and when it is increasingly difficult to determine the national origin or citizenship of any individual or corporate user of this global system. Jurisdictions that continue to offer unregulated or under-regulated offshore services will develop reputational problems that drive off legitimate businesses. Also, firms based in OFC jurisdictions that are inadequately regulated could be subjected to additional due diligence by major clearinghouse banks.

Eliminating The "It's Only Tax Evasion" Loophole

One of the great difficulties in developing information on a timely basis in financial crime cases is the problem of proving that monies hidden in shell companies, international business corporations, or trusts are the proceeds of criminal activity other than tax evasion. In the United States, some of the most important federal prosecutions of serious organized crime figures responsible for contract killings, drug trafficking, and other extraordinarily serious crime, have succeeded only through the making of tax cases. In such domestic organized crime prosecutions, the inability of criminals to explain where their money came from, and the clear frauds involved in their handling of the funds, made criminal prosecutions successful. By contrast, the generally accepted principle that there is nothing wrong with handling mere "tax evasion" money offshore has created a swamp in which financial criminals breed. Jurisdictions could eliminate the "tax evasion" loophole through two techniques: including tax evasion among the grounds for the elimination of bank secrecy in the provision of documents to law enforcement and amending mutual legal assistance agreements to include tax offenses. If such an approach became generally accepted, jurisdictions that continued to make themselves available for tax evasion aimed at other jurisdictions might well find that the potential damage to their reputation from remaining outside this new system outweighed the potential income from continuing to offer these services. The G-7 initiative to coordinate, where appropriate, fiscal fraud and anti-money laundering enforcement efforts is a welcome step in this direction.

Cooperating In Repatriation of Assets and Broadening Civil Remedies for Victims of Financial Crime

Too often, victims of financial crime find themselves unable to reach the assets of those who have victimized them. Governments need to look at mechanisms designed to permit early immobilization of assets of financial criminals and mutual assistance in ensuring that the immobilization is international, not merely domestic. They may also wish to consider providing for an adequate array of civil causes of action for victims of financial crime against institutions that have facilitated the crime as well as against the actual perpetrators. Governments may wish to determine where and when financial institutions doing business in their territories should be held at risk for losses occasioned through the use of their institutions by financial criminals. Failure to adopt and implement mechanisms to ensure the "know your customer" principle in a case where the "customer" proved to be engaging in a pattern or practice of fraudulent activity could lead to civil liability to victims. Such a finding of civil liability could in turn lead to enhanced compliance practices throughout the entire industry.

Linking Future Global Financial Assistance by Multilateral Lenders to Strengthened Governmental Supervision and Enforcement

Future global economic assistance to any jurisdiction or region needs to be more closely tied to taking specific rule of law actions that strengthen the ability of the governments involved to carry out essential regulatory and enforcement functions. This need not involve conditionality, but instead concurrent initiatives such as agreement to strengthen the role of central banks in auditing and inspecting the banks they regulate and to further protect them from political influence. Such audits could help ensure that central banks enforce safety and soundness provisions consistent with international standards and audited by international auditors, with goals, outputs, and benchmarks for reform defined. Among the actions to be undertaken would be to establish public, transparent standards for uniform business operation regulations, as well as requirements for the issuance and regular renewal of business licenses and permits. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank would be two helpful initiators of this kind of approach, were they to have the support of the member states who fund them in undertaking this essential add-on to their past financial assistance programs.

Legislating Transparency in Government and Public Disclosure for Public Officials

Transparent government decision-making in procurement, regulatory, administrative and other decision-making processes inhibit bribery and corruption, both of which are nearly inescapable factors in criminal exploitation of financial systems and institutions. The adoption of laws, regulations, procedures and practices designed to promote integrity of public servants and to prevent or disclose and punish acts of official corruption is closely related to mechanisms that increase the integrity of financial systems used by the public and private sector alike. Implementing an initiative of the International Crime Control Strategy, in February 1999 in Washington, the Vice President hosted and chaired the first Global Forum on Fighting Corruption: Safeguarding Integrity Among Justice and Security Officials. Senior officials from ninety countries addressed Guiding Principles and practices that are effective to promote integrity and control or combat corruption in specific aspects of public service, including regulation of the financial sector, customs, judicial, procurement and budget officials. Their declaration called on governments to adopt comprehensive national effective practices, based on those in the Guiding Principles, and to assist each other to implement them through processes of mutual evaluation. The United States has continued to promote the definition of standards and norms for governments, based on these Guiding Principles, in global and regional fora. General recognition and adoption of such effective practices would assuredly make it easier for states to take other steps needed to combat financial crime, by reducing the ability of would-be financial criminals to purchase the kind of legislative, executive or judicial environment needed to facilitate their activities.

Money Laundering Comparative Table

Each year, U.S. officials from agencies with anti-money laundering responsibilities meet to assess the money laundering situations in more than 175 jurisdictions. The review includes steps taken or not taken to address financial crime and money laundering, each jurisdiction's vulnerability to money laundering, the conformance of its laws and policies to international standards, the effectiveness with which the government has acted, and the government's political will to take needed actions.

The 2000 INCSR assigned priorities to more than 160 jurisdictions using a classification system consisting of three differential categories titled Jurisdictions of Primary Concern, Jurisdictions of Concern, and Other Jurisdictions Monitored.

INCSR priorities draw upon a number of factors which indicate: (1) the extent to which the jurisdiction is or remains vulnerable to money laundering, notwithstanding its money laundering countermeasures, if any; (2) the nature of the money laundering situation in each jurisdiction (for example, whether it involves drugs or other contraband); (3) the ways in which the U.S. regards the situation as having international ramifications; (4) the situation's impact on U.S. interests; (5) whether the jurisdiction has taken appropriate legislative actions to address specific problems; (6) whether there is a lack of licensing and oversight of offshore financial centers and businesses; (7) whether the jurisdiction's laws are being effectively implemented; and (8) where U.S. interests are involved, the degree of cooperation between the foreign government and U.S. government agencies. There are approximately two dozen sub-factors that are also considered. These sub-factors (Category Criteria) are explained below.

A government can have comprehensive laws on its books and conduct aggressive anti-money laundering enforcement efforts, but still be classified as a jurisdiction of Primary Concern. In such jurisdictions the volume of money laundering continues to be substantial and continued vigilance and effective enforcement by the government is essential to successfully combat money laundering.

When the severity of the money laundering problem places a jurisdiction in the Primary Concern category and other deficiencies exist, this categorization indicates that this jurisdiction needs to take immediate action to develop or enhance its anti-money laundering regime and will receive near-term priority attention from the U.S. Government. In categorizing a jurisdiction as a Primary Concern jurisdiction, the U.S. belief is that near-term remedial action by that jurisdiction is needed to address the problems cited in the individual country summaries or reflected in the Comparative Chart. Jurisdictions categorized in the Jurisdictions of Concern category need to develop or to enhance their anti-money laundering regimes. Specific attention to OFCs, their licensing and regulation, may be necessary to protect respective financial systems from criminal abuse. Jurisdictions in the Other Jurisdictions Monitored category are not of immediate concern, but will be monitored for changes in money laundering activity.

Category Criteria

As any financial system can be penetrated, every jurisdiction has the potential of becoming a money laundering center. There is no precise measure of vulnerability for any financial system, but a checklist of what drug money managers reportedly look for provides a basic guide.

Failure to criminalize money laundering for all serious crimes or limiting the offense to narrow predicates.

Rigid bank secrecy rules that cannot be penetrated for authorized law enforcement investigations or that prohibit or inhibit large value and/or suspicious or unusual transaction reporting by both banks and non-bank financial institutions.

Lack of or inadequate "know your client" requirements to open accounts or conduct financial transactions, including the permitted use of anonymous, nominee, numbered or trustee accounts.

  • No requirement to disclose the beneficial owner of an account or the true beneficiary of a transaction.
  • Lack of effective monitoring of cross-border currency movements.
  • No reporting requirements for large cash transactions.
  • No requirement to maintain financial records over a specific period of time.
  • No mandatory requirement to report suspicious transactions or a pattern of inconsistent reporting under a voluntary system; lack of uniform guidelines from which to identify suspicious transactions.
  • Use of bearer monetary instruments.
  • Well-established non-bank financial systems, especially where regulation, supervision, and monitoring are absent or lax.
  • Patterns of evasion of exchange controls by legitimate businesses.
  • Ease of incorporation, especially where ownership can be held through nominees or bearer shares, or where off-the-shelf corporations can be acquired.
  • No central reporting unit for receiving, analyzing and disseminating to the competent authorities large value, suspicious or unusual financial transactions that might identify possible money laundering activity.
  • Lack of or weak bank regulatory controls, or failure to adopt or adhere to the Basle
  • Principles for International Banking Supervision, especially in jurisdictions where the monetary or bank supervisory authority is understaffed, underskilled or uncommitted.
  • Well-established offshore financial centers or tax-haven banking systems, especially jurisdictions where such banks and accounts can be readily established with minimal background investigations.
  • Extensive foreign banking operations, especially where there is significant wire transfer activity or multiple branches of foreign banks, or limited audit authority over foreign-owned banks or institutions.
  • Limited asset seizure or confiscation authority.
  • Limited narcotics, money laundering and financial crime enforcement and lack of trained investigative personnel.
  • Jurisdictions with free trade zones where there is little government presence or other supervisory authority.
  • Patterns of official corruption or a laissez-faire attitude toward the business and banking communities.
  • Jurisdictions where the U.S. dollar is readily accepted, especially jurisdictions where banks and other financial institutions allow dollar deposits.
  • Well-established access to international bullion trading centers in New York, Istanbul, Zurich, Dubai and Mumbai.
  • Jurisdictions where there is significant trade in or export of gems, particularly diamonds.
  • Jurisdictions with large parallel or black market economies.
  • Limited or no ability to share financial information with foreign law enforcement authorities.
Changes in INCSR Priorities, 1999-2000

Upgrades

Downgrades

Additions

Grenada --> Other-Concern

Montserrat --> Concern-Other

Brunei --> Other

Nauru --> Concern-Primary

Nepal --> Concern-Other

Cameroon --> Other

St. Lucia --> Other-Concern

Trinidad and Tobago --> Concern-Other

Comoros -- > Other

   

Lesotho --> Other

   

Macedonia --> Other

   

Namibia --> Other

Comparative Chart

The following comparative chart (preceded by a Glossary of Terms) identifies the actions taken by each of the jurisdictions to combat money laundering. This reference chart provides a comparison of a broad range of elements that define legislative activity and identify other characteristics that can have a relationship to money laundering vulnerability.

Glossary of Terms

"Criminalized Drug Money Laundering": The jurisdiction has enacted laws criminalizing the offense of money laundering related to drug trafficking.

"Criminalized Beyond Drugs": The jurisdiction has extended anti-money laundering statutes and regulations to include non-drug-related money laundering.

"Record Large Transactions": By law or regulation, banks are required to maintain records of large transactions in currency or other monetary instruments.

"Maintain Records Over Time": By law or regulation, banks are required to keep records, especially of large or unusual transactions, for a specified period of time, e.g., five years.

"Report Suspicious Transactions": An "M" (for "mandatory") indicates that by law or regulation, banks are required to record and report suspicious or unusual transactions to designated authorities. A "P" indicates that by law or regulation, banks are permitted to record and report suspicious transactions. An effective know-your-customer policy is considered a prerequisite in this category.

"Financial Intelligence Unit": The jurisdiction has established a central, national agency responsible for receiving (and, as permitted, requesting), analyzing, and disseminating to the competent authorities disclosures of financial information concerning suspected proceeds of crime, or required by national legislation or regulation, in order to counter money laundering. These reflect those jurisdictions that have met the Egmont definition of an FIU.

"System for Identifying and Forfeiting Assets": The jurisdiction has enacted laws authorizing the tracing, freezing, seizure and forfeiture of assets identified as relating to or generated by money laundering activities.

"Arrangements for Asset Sharing": By law, regulation or bilateral agreement, the jurisdiction permits sharing of seized assets with third party jurisdictions which assisted in the conduct of the underlying investigation.

"Cooperates w/Domestic Law Enforcement": By law or regulation, banks are required to cooperate with authorized law enforcement investigations into money laundering or the predicate offense, including production of bank records, or otherwise lifting the veil of bank secrecy.

"Cooperates w/International Law Enforcement": By law or regulation, banks are permitted/required to cooperate with authorized investigations involving or initiated by third party jurisdictions, including sharing of records or other financial data.

"International Transportation of Currency": By law or regulation, the jurisdiction, in cooperation with banks, controls or monitors the flow of currency and monetary instruments crossing its borders. Of critical weight here are the presence or absence of wire transfer regulations and use of reports completed by each person transiting the jurisdiction and reports of monetary instrument transmitters.

"Mutual Legal Assistance": By law or through treaty, the jurisdiction has agreed to provide and receive mutual legal assistance, including the sharing of records and data.

"Non-Bank Financial Institutions": By law or regulation, the jurisdiction requires non-bank financial institutions to meet the same customer identification standards and adhere to the same reporting requirements that it imposes on banks.

"Disclosure Protection Safe Harbor": By law, the jurisdiction provides a "safe harbor" defense to banks or other financial institutions and their employees who provide otherwise confidential banking data to authorities in pursuit of authorized investigations.

"Offshore Financial Centers": By law or regulation, the jurisdiction authorizes the licensing of offshore banking and business facilities.

"States Parties to 1988 UN Drug Convention": The jurisdiction is a party to the 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, or the country that is responsible for the jurisdiction's international relations has extended the application of the Convention to the jurisdiction.

Annex to the Offshore Financial Centers Section

FATF Criteria for Defining Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories

Loopholes in financial regulations

(i) No or inadequate regulations and supervision of financial institutions 1. Are there effective regulations and supervision, if any, for all financial institutions in a given country or territory, onshore or offshore, on an equivalent basis with respect to international standards applicable to money laundering?

(ii) Inadequate licensing and rules for the creation of financial institutions, including assessing the backgrounds of their managers and beneficial owner

Is it possible for individuals or legal entities to operate a financial institution without authorization or registration or with very rudimentary requirements for authorization or registration?

3 Are there measures to guard against holding of management functions and control or acquisition of a significant investment in financial institutions by criminals or their confederates?
(iii) Inadequate customer identification requirements for financial institutions

4. Do anonymous accounts or accounts in obviously fictitious names exist?

5. Are there effective laws, regulations, agreements between supervisory authorities and financial institutions or self-regulatory agreements among financial institutions on identification by the financial institution of the client and beneficial owner of an account?

Is it mandatory to verify the identity of the client?

Is it a requirement to identify the beneficial owners where there are doubts as to whether the client is acting on his own behalf?

Is there an obligation to renew identification of the client or the beneficial owner when doubts appear as to their identity in the course of business relationships?

Are financial institutions required to develop ongoing anti-money laundering training programs?

Is there a legal or regulatory obligation for financial institutions or agreements between supervisory authorities and financial institutions or self-agreements among financial institutions to record and keep, for a reasonable and sufficient time (five years), documents connected with the identity of their clients, as well as records on national and international transactions?

7. Are there legal or practical obstacles to access by administrative and judicial authorities to information with respect to the identity of the holders or beneficial owners and information connected with the transactions recorded

(iv) Excessive secrecy provisions regarding financial institutions

8. Can secrecy provisions be invoked against, but not lifted by competent administrative authorities in the context of enquiries concerning money laundering?

9. Can secrecy provisions be invoked against, but not lifted by judicial authorities in criminal investigations related to money laundering?
(v) Lack of efficient suspicious transactions reporting system

10. Is there an efficient mandatory system for reporting suspicious or unusual transactions to a competent authority, provided that such a system aims to detect and prosecute money laundering?

11. Are there monitoring and criminal or administrative sanctions in respect to the obligation to report suspicious or unusual transactions?

B. Obstacles raised by other regulatory requirements

(i) Inadequate commercial law requirements for registration of business and legal entities

12. Are there adequate means for identifying, recording and making available relevant information related to legal and business entities (name, legal form, address, identity of directors, provisions regulating the power to bind the entity)?

(ii) Lack of identification of the beneficial owner(s) of legal and business entities

13. Are there obstacles to identification by financial institutions of the beneficial owner(s) and directors/officers of a company or beneficiaries of legal or business entities?

14. Are there regulatory or other systems which allow financial institutions to carry out financial business where the beneficial owner(s) of transactions is unknown, or is represented by an intermediary who refuses to divulge that information, without informing the competent authorities?

C. Obstacles to international co-operation

(i) Obstacles to international co-operation by administrative authorities

15. Do laws or regulations prohibit international exchange of information between administrative anti-money laundering authorities or do not grant clear gateways or subjecting exchange of information to unduly restrictive conditions?

16. Are relevant administrative authorities prohibited from conducting investigations or enquiries on behalf of or for account of their foreign counterparts?

17. Has obvious unwillingness to respond constructively to requests (e.g. failure to take the appropriate measures in due course, long delays in responding) been observed?

18. Are there restrictive practices in international co-operation against money laundering between supervisory authorities or between FIUs for the analysis and investigation of suspicious transactions, especially on the grounds that such transactions may relate to tax matters? (ii) Obstacles to international co-operation by judicial authorities

19. Is the laundering of the proceeds from serious crimes being criminalised?

20. Do laws or regulations prohibit international exchange of information between judicial authorities (notably specific reservations to the anti-money laundering provisions of international agreements) or place highly restrictive conditions on the exchange of information?

21. Has obvious unwillingness to respond constructively to mutual legal assistance requests (e.g. failure to take the appropriate measures in due course, long delays in responding) been observed?

22. Does the jurisdiction refuse to provide judicial co-operation in cases involving offences recognized as such by the requested jurisdiction especially on the grounds that tax matters are involved?

D. Inadequate resources for preventing and detecting money laundering activities

(i) Lack of resources in public and private sectors

23. Are the administrative and judicial authorities provided with the necessary financial, human or technical resources to exercise their functions or to conduct their investigations?

24. Is there inadequate or corrupt professional staff in governmental, judicial or supervisory authorities or among those responsible for anti-money laundering compliance in the financial services industry?

(ii) Absence of a financial intelligence unit or of an equivalent mechanism

Is there a centralized unit (i.e., a financial intelligence unit) or of an equivalent mechanism for the collection, analysis and dissemination of suspicious transactions information to competent authorities?

Money Laundering Country/Jurisdiction Table -- [Excel file]

Money Laundering Comparative Chart -- [Excel file]

Country Reports

Afghanistan (Other). Afghanistan's importance as an opium poppy production center is not paralleled in the money laundering sector: Afghanistan is not a center for money laundering. Financial institutions barely exist. The country is neither an important regional financial center nor an offshore financial center.

Afghanistan does play a key role in the heroin trade, the proceeds of which appear to be laundered outside the country, particularly in the United Arab Emirates, or through the hawala alternative remittance system. Reports indicate that the Taliban, the Northern Alliance, and other factions are involved in narcotics trafficking.

The hawala (or hundi) alternative remittance system is known to be used to remit money to Afghanistan. Although most remittances represent money being sent home by Afghan expatriates, some may represent the sale of narcotics produced in or moved through Afghanistan as part of a larger money laundering scheme.

Contraband smuggling, including the smuggling of narcotics, generates funds. Private investment of drug trafficking profits reportedly contributed to a surge in building construction and other licit commercial activity in Kandahar City during 1998. Profits are also invested in improving trafficking capabilities by purchasing fast, all-terrain vehicles and acquiring more potent weaponry.

There are no U.S. training or other programs aimed at combating money laundering in Afghanistan. Albania (Concern). The significant presence of organized crime and the weakness of government structures make Albania a transit country for narcotics and arms trafficking, as well as for the smuggling of contraband goods and illegal aliens, all of which put Albania at risk for money laundering. Organized crime groups use Albania as a base of operations for criminal activities in other countries. Criminal proceeds are easily laundered in Albania, since official corruption is rife and government enforcement controls are weak or nonexistent. Albania's government is still in the process of asserting its authority in many areas of the country following the collapse of the Albanian economy and ensuing civil strife of 1997.

Article 287 of the Albanian Criminal Code of 1995 criminalized all types of money laundering. With the assistance of several European regional organizations, Albania is drafting comprehensive anti-money laundering legislation that should meet international standards. Albania participates in the Council of Europe's PC-R-EV. In September 2000, Albania will undergo a mutual evaluation conducted by the PC-R-EV. The report may provide detailed suggestions to improve Albania's anti-money laundering program.

As Albania considers adopting anti-money laundering legislation, it must deal with more fundamental issues such as establishing enforcement and judicial systems capable of supporting an effective anti-money laundering regime. It also faces huge obstacles in reigning in the influence of organized crime that generates money laundering proceeds, and corruption that could undermine the best of anti-money laundering measures.

Algeria (Other). There is no evidence of widespread money laundering in Algeria, although there are unofficial reports of money laundering being carried out in conjunction with various types of smuggling. Algeria has not enacted any type of anti-money laundering legislation. There is a requirement that a declaration be made of any type of foreign currency brought into the country, but it is not clear how strictly this regulation is enforced.

Algeria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Anguilla (Other). Anguilla is a United Kingdom Caribbean Overseas Territory (COT), and therefore subject to the laws of the United Kingdom. Anguilla has a small offshore financial services sector, which includes offshore banks, trusts and international business companies. For its 8,000 inhabitants, Anguilla has 2 offshore banks, both subsidiaries of major banks, and 1,500 international business companies.

The extent of money laundering in Anguilla is unknown, but the relatively large size of this tiny Caribbean island's offshore financial sector makes it an attractive location for money laundering. Rumors of bulk currency transport persist.

Legislation adopted in 1995 brought Anguilla into compliance with the requirements of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The legislation includes provisions for asset seizure and forfeiture. Anguilla, along with its COT brethren, has increased its regulation over its financial sector; for instance, it has promulgated guidelines stating that new bank licenses will be issued only to subsidiaries of established banks with effective parent-bank supervision. Anguilla's existing anti-money laundering regime and practices will be assessed against international standards under a contract signed in 1999 with an international consulting firm, providing for an independent, in-depth review of financial regulatory practices.

Anguilla is subject to the U.S./UK MLAT and the U.S./UK extradition treaty. Its operational contact with the United States and the other United Kingdom Overseas Territories is close and effective. Anguilla, through the UK, is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Anguilla is also a member of the CFATF.

Antigua and Barbuda (Primary). Until early 1997, Antigua and Barbuda had an active and virtually unregulated offshore financial service industry, which, combined with stringent bank secrecy, made the country an attractive site for money launderers. The country took steps in 1997 and 1998 to address problems and assert control by passing sound anti-money laundering legislation. However, in October 1998, individuals suspected of involvement in money laundering and other illicit economic activities used their considerable financial influence to weaken Antigua's anti-money laundering legislation. Certain amendments to the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act and the 1982 International Business Corporations (IBC) Act distorted the regulatory regime and undermined the ability of law enforcement to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.

These developments resulted in the issuance of a financial advisory by the U.S. Treasury Department in April 1999. Shortly thereafter the United Kingdom issued a similar advisory, and France publicly expressed its concerns. The U.S. Advisory, which advised financial institutions to give "enhanced scrutiny to all financial transactions routed into or out of Antigua and Barbuda," was issued because changes in Antigua and Barbuda's money laundering laws threatened to "create a 'haven' whose existence will undermine international efforts of the United States and other nations to counter money laundering and other criminal activity, a concern of which the United States has repeatedly made the Government of Antigua and Barbuda aware".

Since the issuance of the advisories, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda (GOAB) has rescinded most of the objectionable legislation and enacted most of the new legislation which, if effectively implemented, would bring the GOAB into compliance with international norms governing offshore financial services. Additionally, the GOAB is taking other steps to clean up its financial services sector. As a result of an intensive two year review of the licensed offshore banks, the GOAB revoked the licenses of approximately two-thirds of the offshore banks for failing to provide an approved financial audit and to meet the increased capitalization requirements, and, more importantly, for participating in illegal activities such as fraud and money laundering. Numerous criminal investigations in the United States have revealed that several of the offshore banks, most of which have been closed, engaged in financial transactions with funds of questionable origin. Currently there are about 18 offshore banks operating in Antigua and Barbuda, down from about 47 in 1998.

During 1999, the GOAB also increased its bilateral and multilateral cooperation on various law enforcement initiatives. In July 1999, the GOAB became the first country in the eastern Caribbean to bring the new Extradition Treaty and MLAT with the United States into force. Despite difficulties and delays in 1998, the GOAB has provided substantive assistance to U.S. law enforcement and prosecutors investigating and prosecuting fraud and money laundering cases involving the Antiguan-licensed Caribbean American Bank and European Union Bank. A request for the extradition of William Cooper, a director of Caribbean American Bank and owner of Antiguan American International Bank, is currently pending. The GOAB also worked closely with Canadian authorities in the investigation and successful prosecution of a major money laundering case, receiving over $400,000 in shared forfeited assets. Additionally, the GOAB has instituted its own case against former Ukrainian Prime Minister Lazarenko for money laundering. Lazarenko allegedly used an Antiguan offshore bank to conceal monies stolen from the Ukrainian government.

The GOAB created and staffed the Supervisory Authority mandated by the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act and issued regulations to implement the mandated suspicious financial transaction reporting system. In accordance with these new regulations, the Supervisory Authority has received a number of reports of suspicious activity. However, Internet gambling is largely unregulated in Antigua, although the GOAB has indicated it is developing regulations to control this burgeoning industry.

During the past year, the GOAB has amended its Money Laundering (Prevention) Act and IBC Act to correct deficiencies and bring them into compliance with international standards. GOAB cooperation in investigative and forfeiture matters has also improved. The new laws, combined with an increase in resources allocated to regulation of the international financial services sector and a demonstrated willingness to investigate and prosecute suspect individuals and transactions, suggest that the GOAB is now committed to creating a regulatory and anti-money laundering regime which meets international standards. In the future, GOAB must focus its efforts on fully implementing the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act, ensuring compliance with the new regulations of the IBC Act, and enhancing international cooperation on law enforcement matters.

Argentina (Concern). Argentina is neither an important regional financial center, a significant tax haven nor an offshore banking center. Until recently most of the money laundering occurring in Argentina was believed to be primarily related to bribery, contraband and tax evasion. However, there is increasing evidence that cells of the powerful Colombian and Mexican drug cartels are laundering millions of dollars in Argentina, particularly through the purchase of diverse and lavish real estate properties. The ongoing investigation into the financial activities of Maria Henao Vallejos, widow of Colombia drug lord Pablo Escobar, while residing in Argentina may confirm long-term suspicions of narcotics-related funds being laundered in Argentina. As a ramification of the U.S. Customs Service Operation Casablanca, an international investigation is being conducted into the Buenos Aires-based bank Mercado Abierto on suspicions that it may have laundered millions of dollars for the late Mexican drug kingpin Amado Carrillo Fuentes. It is believed that most of the laundered funds had been sent to Argentina through various U.S. banks, and once the funds arrived into an account at Mercado Abierto they were invested in luxury apartments and cattle ranches in Argentina. These investigations continue with the full cooperation of the Government of Argentina (GOA).

Argentina's current anti-money laundering program is based on Drug Law No. 3,737 of October 1989, which criminalized narcotics-related money laundering, and a series of communications issued by the central bank of Argentina aimed at the prevention and detection of money laundering activities through the financial sector. Among other things, these communications require banks and non-banks to identify customers; discontinue accounts with parties using obviously fictitious names; prohibit the payment by tellers of checks above $50,000 issued to third parties; report to the central bank personal data on account holders where cash over $50,000 is deposited monthly, or $200,000 annually; and report suspicious transactions. Compliance with the requirement to report suspicious transactions remains low.

The GOA has made several attempts at expanding the scope of this legislation and at creating a financial intelligence unit (FIU). In September 1999, the House approved a bill proposing to expand the list of predicate offenses beyond narcotics-related activities to include terrorism, trafficking in arms, human beings and human organs, crimes against the public administration, extortion, and kidnapping for ransom. The bill would also create a multi-agency autonomous FIU that would act in coordination with the Office of the Public Prosecutor sector. However, this bill remains under review by the Senate, where a Committee has weakened some of the provisions already approved by the House. The Senate version of the bill eliminates penalties for negligent or imprudent behavior resulting in money laundering, requires that criminal intent be demonstrated, and proposes that the FIU destroy all case records if a year passes without any action being taken in an investigation. The jurisdiction of the FIU continues to generate debate: the House bill makes it into a multi-agency autonomous body, while the Senate version gives the central bank control of the proposed unit.

The United States will continue to support the GOA's effort to join the FATF, since this signals Argentina's commitment to join the international community's fight against money laundering. However, it is imperative that Argentina enact a comprehensive anti-money laundering program in the very near future, since failure to do so could become a roadblock to future full FATF membership. Argentina is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and an active participant in the OAS/CICAD. Argentina has bilateral agreements for financial information exchange with over 25 countries, including the United States. In September 1999, Argentina was accepted as an observer member of the FATF, and will undergo FATF's evaluation of its anti-money laundering program in early 2000. Armenia (Other). Armenia is a transit country for narcotics trafficking and smuggling, due to lax border controls between Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries and Armenia's location along an important Iran-CIS trade route. The primary destinations are Western Europe and other CIS countries. While its current economic situation creates a favorable money laundering environment, Armenia is not a major financial or money laundering center.

Economic crime is primarily connected to smuggling, tax evasion, looting of privatized companies, embezzlement of state funds and diversion of foreign assistance. High unemployment, low salaries, a large underground economy, corruption, and organized crime provide classic conditions for money laundering. Criminal groups operating in Armenia maintain ties to those in other CIS countries and with Armenian communities abroad.

Although there is no evidence that foreign illegal proceeds are laundered in Armenia, Armenian authorities admit that enforcement agencies have not focused on investigating money laundering operations. Investigators have a poor understanding of the concept of money laundering and inadequate resources to pursue cases. Schemes to launder domestically generated illegal funds include the under-invoicing of imports, false invoicing, double bookkeeping, and use of the banking system.

The government has made the prosecution of economic crimes a government priority as part of an ongoing reform process. A new criminal procedure code went into effect on January 12, 1999. There are no anti-money laundering measures applicable to either banks or non-bank financial institutions but a complete new criminal code, including provisions dealing with economic crime (such as the criminalization of money laundering), is expected to be passed in 2000.

Bank secrecy laws create difficulties in obtaining bank records for investigations. In addition, the gray economy affects the banking system due to the dollarization of the economy (forty percent of public expenditures are derived from foreign remittances) and the magnitude of cash circulating outside the banking sector. Even if anti-money laundering regulations are introduced, they would regulate only a fraction of Armenia's domestic financial transactions.

Armenia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Aruba (Concern). Aruba, with its free zones, casinos, and especially its growing offshore industry, is vulnerable to being used for money laundering. The Government of Aruba (GOA) has undertaken a number of measures in recent years to strengthen its anti-money laundering system. Money laundering is a criminal offense in Aruba, and money laundering offenses extend to all predicate offenses, including tax offenses. Aruban anti-money laundering legislation provides for the creation of a financial intelligence unit (MOT Aruba), which became operational in 1996. The legislation also specified know your customer requirements, requirements for the reporting of unusual transactions, and record-keeping requirements. However, the money laundering law requires proof of an underlying crime, a standard that has so far proven extremely difficult for police, who lack the sophisticated methods necessary to build a successful case. The GOA also established four committees, consisting of representatives of both Aruba and The Netherlands, to review specific industries and make recommendations. Each of the initial committees has completed its work. The GOA has approved the recommendations and appointed implementation committees, and the necessary legislation has been drafted and is being discussed. The four committees are the following:

The Mixed Committee Gaming Industry, which recommended bringing casinos under the Reporting and Identification Ordinances and the creation of an independent Gaming Board;

The Mixed Committee Aruba Free Zone, which compiled recommendations to monitor the free zone. These recommendations will be put in place soon;

A Mixed Committee to assess the system of organization, registration and supervision of legal entities in Aruba. This Committee seeks to address the supervision of the Aruba offshore sector by ensuring that the identity of the ultimate beneficial owner is known to the trust company, and that know your customer policies are implemented; and

A Mixed Committee to implement a system requiring the reporting of imported or exported cash or monetary instruments of more than $10,000.

A new asset seizure law is in effect in Aruba that currently states that the prosecution must prove that the defendant knew the assets came from illegal activities, in addition to proving the underlying crime.

The Director of the Free Zone Aruba has worked to keep money laundering activities from shifting from the recently regulated financial sector into the still largely unregulated trade sector. He has prepared standards that could ultimately be used to deter corruption in free zones throughout the Caribbean.

Aruba is rapidly developing as an international financial services center. Services include finance companies, offshore banking companies, royalty companies, investment and holding companies, and the Aruba Exempt Company (AVV). Aruba introduced the concept of the AVV in 1988 to enhance the attractiveness of the approximately 3,000 offshore companies in Aruba, which are represented by 100 trust companies. The most important feature of the AVV is its complete exemption from all taxes. Instead, a registration fee of $280 is charged each year. The capital of an AVV may be divided by the designation of stock shares. Registered shares as well as bearer shares are allowed, and preference shares may also be issued. The minimum authorized capital for an AVV is $5,600. The AVV cannot participate in the economy of Aruba. The AVV is exempt from several obligations, including the filing of an annual financial statement and currency restrictions. These advantages, combined with the general tax exemption, make the AVV a very attractive entity in the offshore sector. The trust offices provide a wide range of corporate management and professional services to the AVVs. The trust offices also look after the interests of the shareholders, stockholders, or other creditors of the AVVs.

The Aruban banking sector is small, consisting of 15 financial institutions: six onshore commercial banks, two offshore banks, two mortgage banks, two credit unions, and three other credit institutions (an investment company, a finance company and a local governmental bank). All 15 institutions are under the direct supervision of the Central Bank of Aruba (CBA). There are also ten life insurance companies and seven general insurance companies. The CBA supervises the life insurance companies, whereas the general insurance companies are unsupervised. There are also 11 casinos, all of which belong to hotels.

The Aruba MOT has an extremely capable and dedicated staff. The Aruba MOT faces the same problems as its counterpart, the Netherlands Antilles MOT, in that both are understaffed and risk becoming overwhelmed with the huge volume of unusual transactions they must process. Both units need to develop more on-line databases, instead of relying on manually inputting voluminous data. As part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Aruba is a member of the FATF. Aruba underwent a second mutual evaluation report by the FATF in January 1999. Aruba is also an active member of the CFATF. The Aruba MOT is a member of the Egmont Group.

The Netherlands and the United States have an MLAT that applies to Aruba. Aruban judicial authorities have maintained an excellent record of cooperating with the United States under the MLAT.

Despite the progress it has made in its anti-money laundering regime, Aruba has not yet successfully prosecuted any money laundering cases. The U.S. continues to urge that the GOA amend its anti-money laundering legislation to shift the burden of proof from the prosecutor to the defense With this amendment, and once Aruba's anti-money laundering program is fully implemented, successful prosecutions of money launderers should follow.

Australia (Primary). Financial fraud and narcotics trafficking are the major sources of criminal proceeds laundered in Australia. A comprehensive money laundering study commissioned by the Australian government in 1995 estimated that approximately $ 2.8 billion is laundered in or through Australia, or offshore, each year. Organized crime groups involved in narcotics trafficking launder a large part of these proceeds. Besides domestic Australian groups, ethnic Chinese, Italian, Colombian, Japanese, Lebanese, Vietnamese, and Romanian organized crime groups are known to operate in Australia. Alternative remittance systems are used by some of the organized crime groups to move and launder their funds. Detecting and investigating the movement or laundering of funds through these alternative remittance systems is extremely difficult. Other major money laundering methods include the use of wire transfers structured below the threshold required for mandatory reporting, large wire transfers, cross border exports of cash, representative offices of foreign banks, currency exchange businesses, and real estate purchases.

Three legislative acts form the basis of Australia's anti-money laundering regime. These are the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) of 1987, the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act (MA) of 1987, and the Financial Transaction Reports Act (FTR) of 1988. The POCA criminalized money laundering for all serious offenses. It contains provisions to assist in the collection of evidence for money laundering investigations and prosecutions in the form of production orders, search warrants, and monitoring orders. The MA allows Australian authorities to assist other countries in identifying, freezing, seizing, and confiscating the proceeds of crime.

The purpose of the FTR is to discourage financially motivated criminals and to provide financial intelligence to law enforcement and revenue collection agencies. It specifies anti-money laundering measures applicable to the financial sector. The provisions of the Act apply to financial institutions; insurance businesses; securities dealers; trustees; sellers of monetary instruments; bullion dealers; gaming establishments and services; persons who collect, hold, or deliver currency on behalf of others; and persons who prepare payrolls for others in whole or in part from collected currency. These are required to report suspicious transactions, cash transactions of approximately $8,000 or more, and international funds transfers into or out of Australia. The FTR contains provisions for customer identification requirements for account holders.

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) is the agency created to receive and process reports required under the FTR. It is Australia's financial intelligence unit. The FTR assigns AUSTRAC a regulatory role vis a vis the wider financial services sector of the Australian economy. AUSTRAC also monitors the movement of currency across Australia's borders.

AUSTRAC supports Australian law enforcement and revenue agencies by monitoring, analyzing and disseminating financial intelligence. Partner agencies have online access to AUSTRAC's database. AUSTRAC produces specialized reports based on in-house software applications to extract information from its database. In addition, AUSTRAC runs automated monitoring of its database to identify financial activity that indicates money laundering, other serious crime and tax evasion. AUSTRAC's database can also provide an alert system to its partner agencies when a report matching specific criteria enters the database.

Australia plays a very active role in international anti-money laundering fora. It is a member of the FATF and has implemented the FATF Forty Recommendations for combating money laundering. Australia continues to promote the adoption of anti-money laundering systems by countries in the Asia/Pacific region through its funding and hosting of the Secretariat of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering and by raising the issue of money laundering to a priority concern by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum. AUSTRAC has provided assistance to a number of countries such as Poland, Thailand, South Africa, Japan, Canada, and Korea to establish anti-money laundering systems and to develop their financial intelligence units.

An MLAT is in force between the United States and Australia. AUSTRAC and FinCEN have signed an MOU for the exchange of information. Australia also has bilateral agreements with the UK, New Zealand, Belgium, France and Denmark, allowing the exchange of information on money laundering.

Australia has a comprehensive and an effective anti-money laundering regime. It fully complies with the FATF Forty Recommendations. Australia is studying possible amendments to its legislation in order to keep up with the rapidly changing financial services sector and to counter the opportunities that new technologies may offer criminal enterprise, especially in the evolving field of electronic commerce. Australia's approach to combating money laundering and its demonstrated ability to adapt to change serve as a model for other countries to emulate.

Austria (Primary). Austria is not an important regional financial or banking center but it is a potentially attractive site for money laundering due to the existence of Sparbuch (literal meaning: "savings book") accounts. Austria's failure to terminate these anonymous accounts has led the FATF to threaten to suspend Austria's membership after June 15, 2000 if Austria fails to take decisive action against the Sparbuch accounts. Russian organized criminal groups have established front and shell companies through Austrian fiduciaries to launder money.

Money laundering was added to Austria's Penal Code as a criminal offense in 1993. Austria's Banking Act of 1994 also prohibits money laundering, and requires customer identification for bank transactions involving over $15,000 for customers without a permanent business relationship with the bank. Banking records must be maintained for at least five years after termination of the business relationship with the customer. In 1998, Austria tightened its money laundering regulations in both the Act and the Penal Code. Banks, insurers and bureaux de change are currently required to report suspicious transactions to Austria's financial intelligence unit (FIU), the Central Department for Combating Organized Crime (Reporting Office) (EDOK). The FIU is located in the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs and participates in the Egmont Group. During 1998, Austria's banks reported 254 suspicious transactions, of which 16 resulted in criminal proceedings. Of the proceedings initiated in 1998, only two resulted in convictions; the low number was primarily due to lack of evidence. During the first ten months of 1999, banks reported 177 suspicious transactions.

Austria has legislation allowing freezing and forfeiture of assets. However, there is little evidence of enforcement to date. Legislation implemented in 1999 provides for asset seizure and forfeiture of illegal proceeds. Courts may freeze assets in the early stages of an investigation. The amended extradition and judicial assistance law provides for expedited extradition, expanded judicial assistance and acceptance of foreign investigative findings in the course of criminal investigations, as well as enforcement of foreign court decisions. Austria has not enacted laws for sharing narcotics-related assets with other governments, but MLATs can be used as an alternative vehicle to accomplish equitable distribution of forfeited assets.

The Sparbuch anonymous accounts violate the EU anti-money laundering directive and are not in full compliance with the FATF Forty Recommendations. Although Sparbuch accounts are technically available only to residents of Austria, no identification is required to open the account. The account can be opened in any name; in fact, a common name in which these accounts are opened is "�berbringer" (passbook holder). The account has an identifying number assigned by the bank. Access to the account is controlled by a password selected by the owner of the account. Anyone presenting the passbook and knowing the password can withdraw funds.

However, two additional and significant restrictions on these accounts make them less attractive to potential money launderers. First, all transactions must be made in person-wire transfers of deposits or withdrawals are not permitted. Second, all settlements from Sparbuch accounts must be made in cash. The requirement for in-person transactions greatly reduces the Sparbuch's utility as a money laundering tool. In many money laundering schemes, funds are wired to an anonymous account for subsequent layering and integration. This is obviously not possible with the Sparbuch account. In addition, the requirement for cash settlements makes it difficult if not impossible to use the account to convert cash into another form, a common use of accounts in money laundering schemes. Sparbuch accounts are offered or brokered (in probable violation of the Austrian residency requirement) by many businesses on the Internet. Banks oppose the elimination of Sparbuch accounts out of fear that account holders will transfer money out of Austria to avoid taxes, and because the task of identifying ownership of the 26 million Sparbuch accounts is formidable.

Despite the availability and anonymity of the Sparb�ch accounts, U.S. law enforcement agencies indicate there is no evidence that these accounts are being used to launder drug money. Even though the restrictions on the Sparb�ch accounts do not hinder their typical use (such as the use of several Sparbuch accounts to pay different bills or having a separate Sparbuch for each grandchild), they do, in fact, make them less than attractive as a money laundering vehicle. Austria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and a member of the FATF. In 1996, Austria abolished anonymous securities accounts, in compliance with the FATF Forty recommendations and EU regulations. In 1997, it tightened restrictions on trustee accounts. However, the FATF decided at its February 2000 meeting to suspend Austria's membership as of June 15, 2000, unless the Austrian government, by May 20, 2000, (1) commits to eliminating the system of anonymous passbooks by the end of June 2002 and (2) introduces and supports legislation to prohibit the opening of new passbooks and to eliminate the existing passbooks.

An Austria-U.S. MLAT has been in force since August 1, 1998. Austrian cooperation with U.S. investigative efforts has been excellent.

The Government of Austria should come to terms with the commitments it has made to the EU and the FATF. Both of these organizations have called on the Austrian government to eliminate Sparbuch accounts.

Azerbaijan (Other). Azerbaijan is not an important center for narcotics-related money laundering. There is presently little or no laundering taking place in Azerbaijan on behalf of international narcotics groups. However, because of Azerbaijan's geographic location, drug trafficking and the related movement of drug proceeds in or through the country may increase. Banking in Azerbaijan is still in its nascent stages and is in many cases unreliable. Banking laws are changing on a regular basis; many banks are forcibly closed because they fail to meet minimum capital requirements. The two largest state-owned banks of Azerbaijan are presently being privatized. Neither would be attractive as establishments to deposit or launder funds. Large scale money laundering by local businesses to avoid invasive taxes and customs fees is probably done primarily in the non-bank financial system and black markets, not in banking. The transportation of illegal source currency falls within the purview of the Organized Crime Division of the Interior Ministry as well as the Ministry of National Security. However, they appear to be more concerned about the transport of such funds for anti-state activities (anti-government propaganda, terrorism) than for their connection with money laundering.

Azerbaijan's current legislation does not prohibit money laundering and is inadequate to combat police and judicial corruption effectively. Parliament is currently debating a new criminal code that will authorize the police to retain seized assets used in the commission of a crime and assets acquired as a result of criminal activity.

Azerbaijan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

The Commonwealth of The Bahamas (Primary). The Bahamas is an important regional financial and offshore center. Its bank secrecy laws and liberal international business company (IBC) regime make it vulnerable to money laundering and other financial crimes. Bahamian central bank officials have stated that in the recent past Russian banks have applied for offshore banking licenses, but were rejected. There is a strong suspicion on the part of government officials that the insurance sector may also be used for laundering funds.

International Business Companies (about 67,000) and offshore banks (about 400) are two of the several services available in the Bahamas' offshore financial sector. Under the 1989 International Business Companies Act, investors can operate an IBC as long as it does not carry on any business with Bahamian residents or own interest in real estate in the Bahamas. An IBC cannot be a bank, insurance or trust company. It does not require a license and normally takes a day to form upon reserving the name, and presenting a Memorandum and Articles of Association to the Registrar General. A minimum of two shareholders is required, although the shares can be transferred to a single person. The shareholders can be nominees; therefore, the name of the beneficial owner never appears on the register. An annual report must be filed containing information on shareholders, number of shares, amount of capital, and the names, addresses and occupations of the directors and managers, but the annual report does not have to include financial statements. The annual reports, accounts, and the names of the director, officers or shareholders do not need to be public knowledge, and the books and records do not have to be maintained in the Bahamas. The offshore banks are governed by the 1992 Companies Act and can be public or private. All offshore banks must submit annual statements that do not have to include financial statements. The banks' records can be maintained anywhere. The shareholders can be nominees, but in applying to the Central Bank of Bahamas for non-resident status, the name of the beneficial owner must be disclosed.

Overall, with the passage of the Money Laundering (Proceeds of Crime) Act (1996), its December 1996 regulations, and the 1996 Central Bank of The Bahamas Guidance Notes, the Bahamas now has a comprehensive anti-money laundering regime in place. Under these legislative and regulatory mechanisms, the Bahamas criminalized the laundering of the proceeds of serious crimes and required banks and other financial institutions (including insurance companies, casinos, credit card issuers, money transmitters, trust companies and securities dealers) to identify customers and maintain records of significant transactions ($20,000 or above) for five years.

Banks are required to report suspicious financial transactions to the Bank Supervision Department of the Central Bank of The Bahamas, which, after review and analysis, forwards any relevant disclosures to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of the Attorney General's Office. The 1996 Central Bank Guidance Notes provide a definition of money laundering, assist in interpreting the 1996 Act and its regulations, describe examples of what may constitute suspicious transactions, and discuss the internal controls and procedures that should be implemented. These Guidance Notes are not mandatory, although a court, in deciding whether an individual or institution has complied with the 1996 Regulations, may take them into account.

The Bahamas is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and a member of the CFATF, and continues to express interest in furthering its anti-money laundering efforts by creating a financial intelligence unit (FIU) and joining the Egmont Group of FIUs. Given the size and diversity of The Bahamas' financial sector, the government should expedite efforts to create a separate FIU that would collect and analyze financial information and exchange information with similar units worldwide in the pursue of money laundering investigations.

Bahrain (Concern). Bahrain is a regional financial and offshore center and as such is potentially vulnerable to money laundering. The Government of Bahrain (GOB) has provided a number of incentives to foreign investment, including the elimination of corporate withholding taxes and the removal of restrictions on the repatriation of profits (including those of offshore companies). According to a press report of June 1999 quoting a Canadian money laundering consultant, the Bahraini Ministries of Interior and Commerce and the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA), which functions as the central bank, have identified and collected information on money laundering schemes in Bahrain, but the lack of an anti-money laundering law has made it difficult for authorities to follow through on prosecution. The most common sources of illegal proceeds include narcotic trafficking, fraud, and illegal trade involving sanctions evasions. Another major source of illegal money flow results from the sale of oil reserves outside of OPEC production agreements.

Bahrain has not yet criminalized money laundering. However, banking laws require the reporting of suspicious transactions to the BMA and establishment of know-your-customer rules. It is not known how strictly these regulations are enforced. The BMA is expected to introduce legislation to combat money laundering sometime in 2000, and to issue even tighter banking regulations. These regulations are reportedly to address such areas as the reporting of large transactions, providing specific guidelines for accepting transactions, and more monitoring of banking activity. While details of the proposed legislation are not available, it is expected to enable the filing of criminal charges against institutions and individuals in cases of money laundering.

Bahrain is known for its offshore banking units (OBUs), which currently number 49. The BMA licenses the OBUs, which must be audited yearly by outside firms that have been approved by the BMA. OBUs may deal only with non-residents (except for agencies of the GOB and all their activities must be in a foreign currency. With the approval of the BMA, OBUs may participate in domestic development projects. OBUs must be fully staffed, and the majority of the staff must be Bahraini nationals. All books and records must be available at all times for examination by the BMA. OBUs must submit half-yearly statistical returns. They are exempt from taxes and are not subject to any restrictions involving foreign exchange payments or receipts.

The GOB also permits international business companies (IBCs) with limited liability from parent companies. There are two types of IBCs in Bahrain: the first is the offshore resident company, whose principal offices are in Bahrain but which operates exclusively offshore. Such a company must be a joint stock company with a minimum capital of $54,000. If it deals in financial activities, it requires a license from the BMA. The second type of IBC is the offshore non-resident company. This category consists of joint stock companies other than those involved in insurance or investments. These may be exempted from the requirement of maintaining an office in Bahrain, and may instead appoint a law or auditing firm in Bahrain as their resident address. Such firms require a minimum capital of $6,750. Registration of an IBC can take as little as seven days. There are no restrictions on remittances sent abroad. The government-sponsored offshore services are advertised on the Internet.

Bahrain is represented at the FATF by the GCC, of which it is a member. Bahrain is a member of the OGBS and has agreed to undergo a mutual evaluation by this body. No date for the evaluation has yet been set. Bahrain is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Bahrain should act expeditiously to enact anti-money laundering legislation and should ensure that its offshore sector is subject to prudent supervision.

Bangladesh (Other). Bangladesh is not an important regional financial center, or an offshore financial center. Money laundering activities here are not primarily related to drug trafficking but rather to evasion of Bangladesh income taxes and illegal import of consumer goods. There is no evidence that proceeds from drug trafficking are laundered in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has not criminalized money laundering. Banking regulation and enforcement is spotty. Goods are readily smuggled across Bangladesh's long and porous borders, and black market goods are available in the local market. Some illegal drugs are also smuggled across the border. Bangladesh laws allow for the seizure of assets related to illegal smuggling or corruption.

Bangladesh is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, and is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering.

Barbados (Concern). The Government of Barbados (GOB) has taken several steps to provide a defense against the threat of money laundering, including enacting offshore banking laws and oversight and comprehensive anti-money laundering legislation, but it must fully enforce these measures to protect the nation's domestic and offshore financial sectors.

In December 1998, the Parliament enacted the Prevention of Money Laundering Bill, criminalizing any transaction involving, or possession or concealment of, money or property that is the proceeds of crime. The law creates a centralized unit, the Anti-Money Laundering Authority, to supervise financial institutions in accordance with the Act. Penalties for money laundering include up to 25 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The law also contains asset seizure and forfeiture provisions.

The law applies to a wide range of institutions, including domestic and offshore banks, international business companies (IBCs), and insurance companies. These institutions are required to identify customers, maintain records, and report suspicious transactions and transactions exceeding $5,000 to the Anti-Money Laundering Authority. After reviewing these disclosures, the Authority will forward this information to the Commissioner of Police if it has reasonable grounds to suspect money laundering. The Authority may also issue training requirements and regulations for institutions. Although the legislation is officially in force, the Anti-Money Laundering Authority has not yet been established and no regulations have been issued.

The GOB criminalized money laundering in 1990 in its Proceeds of Crime Act, No. 13. This law authorizes asset confiscation and forfeiture and provides a disclosure protection safe harbor for individuals reporting suspicious activities. In 1997, the central bank issued its Anti-Money Laundering Guidelines for Licensed Financial Institutions. The Guidelines follow international standards against money laundering, but lack any enforcement authority.

Barbados is an offshore center, offering offshore banking, international trusts, exempt insurance companies, international business companies (IBCs) and foreign sales corporations (FSCs), which are specialized companies permitting persons to engage in foreign trade transactions from within Barbados. Unofficial sources report Barbados has about 40 offshore banks, 360 exempt insurance companies, and at least 2,000 IBCs and 1,800 FSCs. In 1998 the GOB indicated it had $10 billion in offshore deposits.

The Off-Shore Banking Act (1980) gives the central bank authority to supervise and regulate offshore banks, in addition to the nine domestic commercial banks. The Ministry of Finance issues licenses after the central bank receives and reviews applications and recommends applicants for licensing. Offshore banks must submit quarterly statements of assets and liabilities, and annual balance sheets to the central bank. Profits from offshore banks are subject to 2.5% tax rate for profits up to $5 million and less, but not less than 1%, for greater profits. In late 1999, the GOB proposed new legislation designed to facilitate access by regulators to offshore bank records. It broadens the central bank's ability to share information on licensees with regulators in jurisdictions where the licensees have a holding company, subsidiary, or affiliate.

The International Business Companies Act (1992) provides for general administration of IBCs. The Ministry of International Trade and Business vets and grants licenses to IBCs after applicants register with the Registrar of Corporate Affairs. Barbadian IBC's must pay a 2.5 percent tax on profits up to $7.5 million, plus a one percent tax on profits in excess of $7.5 million. Bearer shares are not allowed, and financial statements of IBCs are audited if total assets exceed $500,000. Barbados has bilateral tax treaties that eliminate or reduce double taxation with the UK, Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Canada's treaty allows IBC and offshore banking profits to be repatriated to Canada tax-free after paying the 2.5% tax in Barbados. As a result, the Barbadian offshore financial services industry continues to expand, driven largely by Canadian-based companies.

In 1996, the United States and Barbados signed an MLAT and an extradition treaty. The United States ratified both treaties in January 1999, and the GOB has signaled that it is prepared to exchange instruments of ratification, the final step necessary to bring the treaties into force.

The GOB needs to maintain strict control over vetting and licensing of offshore entities, and pass legislation to facilitate compliance by offshore banks to prevent abuse of the offshore sector. It should also establish the Anti-Money Laundering Authority, provide it the necessary resources to enforce compliance by financial and commercial sectors, and enable it to fully cooperate with foreign authorities to investigate and prosecute money laundering and other financial crimes.

Belarus (Other). Belarus is neither a major regional or international finance center, nor a significant country for drug-money laundering. The money laundering environment in Belarus shares many of the same characteristics found in the Baltic States and Russia. Financial institutions used to launder proceeds include banks and non-bank financial institutions such as casinos, currency exchanges, real estate companies and businesses that receive large deposits. Common methods used to launder assets continue to be false invoicing schemes, keeping double books, and contract fraud. The absence of anti-money laundering laws and the failure to criminalize money laundering will significantly hinder the attempts made to combat money laundering and any associated crimes.

Local authorities do not believe that money laundering is an immediate problem. However, they state that bank secrecy and the lack of money laundering legislation may in the future attract drug traffickers to launder their profits in local casinos.

Current Belarusian laws used to combat money laundering focus on the underlying crime that generates illegal proceeds. Belarus requires banks to report transactions of more than $10,000, and to maintain records on customer identification and transactions indefinitely. However, banks are not required to report or record unusually large or suspicious transactions. Belarusian banks are not presently required to develop anti-money laundering programs but would be required to do so by an anti-money laundering law currently being drafted. No specific laws establishing and regulating non-bank financial institutions have been passed to replace the 1996 Temporary Regulations on Non-Banking Financial Institutions in the Republic of Belarus.

Belarusian law does not provide for the seizure of assets resulting from illicit gain. Belarus is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Belgium (Concern). Belgium is a country of concern for money laundering, primarily because of its role as a transit country for narcotics trafficking. Although narcotics trafficking proceeds constitute the major source of criminal proceeds, other sources include tax evasion, organized crime, financial fraud, and commercial fraud. The main money laundering methods identified by Belgian authorities include the use of currency exchange bureaus, international wire transfers, and deposits into bank accounts. Many instances of money laundering in Belgium are internationally connected. Narcotics traffickers from the Netherlands, Africa, South Asia, and South America operate and launder their proceeds in Belgium. Belgian authorities have identified organized crime networks involving nationals, residents, or financial institutions from Central and Eastern Europe and countries of the former Soviet Union.

Belgium criminalized money laundering by supplementing Article 505 of Belgium's Penal Code dealing with the receiving of criminal proceeds. The supplemental provisions of 1990 broadened the concept to one of "extended" receiving of criminal proceeds. The Act of 11 January 1993, On Preventing the Financial System From Being Used for Money Laundering Purposes, codified most of the provisions of the FATF Forty Recommendations. These concern customer identification, record keeping requirements, suspicious transaction reporting, a financial intelligence unit, and internal anti-money laundering procedures and training for all Belgian banks and non-bank financial institutions.

As provided for in the Law of 11 January 1993, the Financial Intelligence Processing Unit (CTIF-CFI) came into existence on 1 December 1993. The organization is an independent administrative authority that is supervised by the Belgian Ministries of Justice and Finance. Its mission is to receive and analyze all suspicious transaction reports made by financial institutions (and other persons and entities as specified by the law) subject to the reporting requirements. CTIF-CFI operates as a filter between financial institutions and judicial authorities. Upon identifying credible indicators of money laundering relating to specific predicate offenses among the disclosures it receives, CTIF-CFI reports these cases the Crown Prosecutor in Brussels.

When a financial institution knows or has reason to suspect that a transaction relates to money laundering, it must inform CTIF-CFI before executing the financial operation and indicate, when possible, the deadline for completing the operation. After analyzing all data and finding credible indications of money laundering, CTIF-CFI will submit the information, along with appropriate justifications, to the Crown Prosecutor in Brussels for further investigation and/or prosecution. In order to safeguard the integrity of money or property that is linked to instances of money laundering (and thus subject to seizure by judicial authorities), CTIF-CFI has the authority to block the completion of a suspect financial transaction before the deadline indicated by the reporting institution. The delay may extend to a period of up to 24 hours.

CTIF-CFI is composed of six financial experts, including three magistrates (prosecutors) appointed by the King. A magistrate serves as president of the organization. Besides a secretariat with personnel to provide administrative support, the organization has its own investigations department consisting of six inspectors. CTIF-CFI also has three liaison officers (from the Gendarmerie and Judicial Police) responsible for maintaining contacts with various law enforcement agencies. The strict confidentiality to which CTIF-CFI members and staff are subject does not apply in the same way to communications made in the framework of international cooperation. Exchange of information may take place on the basis of international treaties to which Belgium is signatory or by reciprocity with foreign counterpart agencies possessing secrecy obligations analogous to those of CTIF-CFI.

Belgium is a member of FATF, and CTIF-CFI is a member of the Egmont Group. Belgium has implemented the EU Directive on Money Laundering.

Belgium and the United States signed an MLAT in 1988. It was ratified by the United States in 1989 and by Belgium in March 1998, and entered into force in January 2000.

Belgium has a very effective and consistent anti-money laundering regime that meets, and in some areas exceeds, international standards. Belgium is considering additional legislative measures aimed at improving what is already a well-planned anti-money laundering system.

Belize (Concern). Belize authorities have expressed concern over the increase during the past year in the number of individuals found bringing large amounts of currency into the country in briefcases or concealed under clothing. Authorities have also detected instances of Belize-flagged ships being used to transport drugs and violate UN sanctions. A better understanding of Belize's money laundering dynamics may surface once the Money Laundering Unit being created within the Police Department starts its fieldwork.

Belize's August 1996 Money Laundering Prevention Act meets most of the standards prescribed by the CFATF, which Belize joined in October 1996. The Act criminalized the laundering of proceeds derived from narcotics trafficking, blackmail, counterfeiting, extortion, false accounting, forgery, fraud, illegal deposit taking, robbery and theft involving more than $10,000, terrorism, arms trafficking, and kidnapping. It also introduced the mandatory reporting of suspicious financial transactions by banks and other financial institutions. The Central Bank of Belize, as the supervisory authority designated to receive the reports of suspicious transactions and monitor compliance with the law, issued the implementing regulations in January 1998. Although the laundering of proceeds derived from numerous illicit activities was criminalized in August 1996, law enforcement authorities have yet to try a single case under this law.

Belize's August 1996 offshore banking legislation is the latest in a series of laws to establish an offshore sector that began with the passage of the International Business Companies (IBC) Act in 1990 and the Offshore Trusts Act in 1992. However, Belize remains a minor player in the offshore banking arena. The central bank has received numerous inquiries about offshore banking licenses, and in August 1997 two Central American banks received conditional approval for licensing; however, they never started operations. In August 1998, the central bank approved an offshore banking license for Provident Bank and Trust Limited, which started operation in September 1998.

There are approximately 11,000 registered international business companies (IBC's) in Belize, up from 8,000 last year. While there is no requirement to file audited accounts with the authorities, an IBC is required to keep records that reflect the financial position of the company. There is no disclosure of the beneficial ownership to the authorities. Even though the IBC Act prohibits IBCs from engaging in banking or insurance, an IBC may own and control a bank, since the ultimate ownership of the bank is obscured. IBC records are maintained by Belize International Services Limited, a subsidiary of CHI Corporation, traded on the NASDAQ and formerly known as BHI Corporation. Central bank officials have stated that the system of accounts for the IBCs, for which the central bank of Belize keeps no record, represents a loophole that might allow for money laundering. Although the central bank is required to regularly report the total amount of all IBC account holdings, the patterns and changes of individual accounts are not seen by any central bank authorities unless ordered. There is no registry at all for offshore trusts, since the Offshore Trust Law did not specify an oversight or regulatory body, thus making it impossible to determine the beneficial owners of an offshore trust. In May 1999, Belize created the International Financial Services Commission to regulate and supervise the offshore activities; however; the vast majority of the Commission is composed of offshore practitioners themselves.

The Government of Belize needs to remain vigilant of its growing offshore financial sector, particularly the regulatory authorities. It should also consider establishing a financial intelligence unit to receive suspicious transactions.

Bermuda (Other). A British Overseas Territory, Bermuda remains one of the world's premier offshore international financial and business centers, with a large number of international business companies (IBCs). The Government of Bermuda (GOB) has made considerable progress in combating financial crime in recent years. Both the proceeds of Crime Act 1997 and the Proceeds of Crime Act Regulations 1998 came into force in January 1998. These measures criminalized money laundering, mandated the reporting of suspicious transactions, provided safe harbor protection for those making such disclosures, mandated customer identification and cash transaction record keeping procedures, and developed internal reporting procedures. The GOB issued extensive guidance notes to all financial institutions subject to the laws.

The Proceeds of Crime Act is being amended to include offenses that were not covered as indictable crimes under the original legislation. Implementation is being deferred pending resolution of concerns expressed by the international business community. Additionally, an extension to the Proceeds of Crime Act is being discussed that would substantially increase the amount of reporting, internal controls, and training that must be implemented. It would also provide the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA), Bermuda's central bank, with the authority to investigate the finances of a convicted person and to confiscate crime-related cash and property. A National Anti-Money Laundering Committee, chaired by the GOB's Financial Secretary, is focusing on enhancing public awareness of financial crime.

The Financial Investigation Unit within the Bermuda Police Service, which serves as Bermuda's financial intelligence unit, has been receiving a steady stream of suspicious activity reports and investigating money laundering activity since early 1998.

In 1998, the offshore banking sector in Bermuda consisted of approximately three offshore banks and 37 trust companies. As in the case of domestic banks, the BMA has regulatory authority over these entities. Authority to issue licenses for the offshore sector is vested with the Minister of Finance, who may seek the advice and assistance of the BMA. Approximately 10,000 IBCs are registered in Bermuda. The GOB has always been aware of the potential use of IBCs for money laundering, and scrutinizes closely all applications for the incorporation of new IBCs.

Continued supervision and enforcement of rules in the offshore banking sector in Bermuda are necessary to discourage infiltration by organized crime and money launderers. The GOB is paying close attention to this issue, with an eye to full compliance with international standards of financial activity as mandated by the 1999 United Kingdom White Paper on Overseas Territories.

Bolivia (Concern). Most money laundering occurring in Bolivia is related to contraband smuggling rather than to narcotics trafficking. Still, Bolivia's tradition of bank secrecy facilitates the laundering of illegally obtained earnings and the evasion of taxes. The Government of Bolivia (GOB) is making efforts to implement and enforce the anti-money laundering measures available under the Controlled Substances Law No. 1008, and the March 1997 reforms made to the Penal Code (Law 1768) that criminalized the laundering of proceeds related to illicit narcotics, organized crime and public corruption. In June 1999, the Bolivian Special Narcotics Task Force arrested former military official Marino Diodato and members of his ring believed to have connections to a major Italian Mafia organization dealing in, among other things, narcotics, arms trafficking, and money laundering. The Diodato investigation continues, and over $5.7 million of the organization's assets have been seized, raising serious concerns about the extent of the Mafia presence in Bolivian society.

Bolivia is six months into the transition for full implementation of the new Code of Criminal Procedures enacted in 1999, and progress is already noticeable, particularly in the selection and training of judges, prosecutors and police. This new Code established an accusatorial, oral, public criminal procedure designed to be more rapid and transparent and to improve the judicial system and administration of justice through public proceedings and citizens' participation. It also enhances the abilities of law enforcement bodies by allowing the use of undercover agents and controlled deliveries of narcotics in criminal investigations.

Anti-money laundering regulations issued in July 1997 (Decree 24771) introduced mandatory customer identification and record keeping (10 years) requirements, and the reporting of unusual and/or suspicious financial transactions to the Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) created in late 1998 within the Superintendency of Banks and Financial Institutions. Efforts to staff and equip the unit continue, albeit at a slow pace.

Prior to December 1995, the GOB's seizure and disposition of the assets of individuals accused and/or convicted of narcotics-related crimes was governed by the Controlled Substances Law No. 1008, which permitted the sale of seized property upon Supreme Court affirmation of the conviction of the defendant. To accelerate the disposition process, in 1995 Supreme Decree No. 24196 was issued, which permitted the sale of seized assets with the consent of the accused and in certain other limited circumstances. Overall, judges have refused to enforce Decree No. 24196 on the basis that it is unconstitutional, since it deprives the accused of his/her property without due process, i.e., without a final Supreme Court determination that the accused was guilty. It was hoped that provisions contained in the 1999 Code of Criminal Procedures would remedy the situation by permitting the sale of certain types of property with or without the consent of the accused, on the grounds that the asset might lose value or cost too much to maintain. However, the Constitution does not make distinctions between the types of property. Therefore, these provisions in the new Criminal Code do not further the Government's efforts. The GOB should quickly resolve the internal conflicts and ambiguities afflicting the FIU and the seized assets program, both essential components of an effective anti-money laundering program.

Bosnia and Herzegovina (Other). A significant hub for narcotics transshipment to Western Europe, Bosnia is nevertheless neither a regional financial nor a money laundering center. Cooperation between Bosnian Serb and Croat law enforcement agencies is improving and has resulted in several major drug seizures and exposed some official corruption. However, the growing narcotics trade remains closely linked to organized crime, public sector corruption and ethnic extremism.

Although local banking laws generally conform to the Basle Committee's core principles, Bosnian participation in international financial fora is extremely limited. Bosnia's anti-money laundering legislation, which includes requirements to report suspicious transactions and to conduct due diligence, is stringent on paper. In practice, the law is not enforced in this primarily cash-based and largely unregulated economy.

As a result, government control over the banking industry is tenuous at best and the potential for financial crime is widespread (indeed, the banking system in Bosnia is very underdeveloped and lacks many of the attributes of a normal banking regime). Capitalizing on the prevalence of public sector corruption and the absence of the political will necessary to institute and enforce meaningful reforms, criminal elements linked to narcotics trafficking have engaged in major financial crimes, including bank fraud and money laundering. Regulatory officials have been subject to threats in the course of their duties.

Botswana (Other). Despite the government's keen interest in making it one, Botswana is not a financial center. Botswana is not a money laundering center either. Botswana has tough legislation against illicit drug production and trafficking, as well as against money laundering associated with the drug trade. In this connection, Botswana has implemented legislation that allows the courts to identify, freeze and require the forfeit of drug-related assets. The Bank of Botswana has the power to provide information regarding large currency transactions to law enforcement agencies.

Botswana law enforcement authorities have reacted positively to U.S. Government-sponsored anti-narcotics training and have expressed interest in the high-technology training necessary to combat bank fraud and money laundering.

Brazil (Primary). Money laundering related to drug trafficking and white-collar crime continues to be a problem in Brazil. The highly developed financial sector, increasing local drug consumption and trafficking, and the absence of laws against money laundering until 1998 all have contributed to make Brazil a money laundering center. The administration of President Ferdinand Enrique Cardoso has demonstrated a firm commitment to fighting this problem, and implemented regulations in 1999 to increase the effectiveness of Brazil's anti-money laundering regime.

In 1998, Brazil passed the comprehensive Law 9613, criminalizing money laundering for various offenses, penalizing offenders with up to 16 years in prison, expanding asset seizure and forfeiture provisions, and providing a "safe harbor" for good-faith compliance. It also created the Council for the Control of Financial Activities (COAF) as the country's financial intelligence unit (FIU). The COAF is housed within the Ministry of Finance and is composed of 21 members, consisting of 13 permanent personnel and 8 representatives from other regulatory and law enforcement agencies, including the central bank and Federal Police.

In 1999, Brazil began to fully implement this law by issuing twelve regulations pertaining to a wide array of financial and commercial sectors. The COAF issued eight regulations which pertain to: real estate, factoring companies, gaming and lotteries, dealers in jewelry and precious metals, bingos, credit cards, commodities trading, and dealers in art and antiques. The existing regulatory bodies (the central bank, the Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM), the Examiner of Private Insurance Companies (SUSEP), and the Office of Supplemental Pension Plans [PC] ), issued four parallel regulations. These regulations require customer identification, record keeping, and reporting of suspicious transactions. The central bank, CVM, and SPC regulations also require reporting of large transactions. All of the above regulations include a list of guidelines that may indicate the occurrences of criminal activities. By the end of 1999, the COAF had already received over 250 reports of suspicious transactions. A similar regulation pertaining to the commodities and futures market is to be issued in early 2000. The central bank also established a dedicated financial crimes unit in the bank's audit department.

Regulations issued in October 1998 require that individuals transporting more than $5,500 in cash, checks or traveler's checks across the Brazilian border fill out a customs declaration that is sent to the central bank. Financial institutions remitting more than $5,500 must also make a declaration to the central bank.

Recognizing these efforts, the FATF invited Brazil to become a member in June 1999. In May 1999 the COAF was also admitted as a member of the Egmont Group of FIUs.

Throughout 1999, media attention in Brazil has been dominated by the Panel of Congressional Inquiry (CPI) investigations that have exposed widespread criminal networks operating in at least 14 of Brazil's 26 states, connecting drug trafficking networks, judges, members of Parliament and the police, and related money laundering schemes. Although the commission has no official powers of arrest, it does have strong investigative powers that have enabled it to get waivers of bank secrecy rules and to track bank, tax and telephone records. The CPI estimated that $28 billion a year in drug money moves through Brazil, and indicated that the town of Campinas, near S�o Paulo, was the center for money laundering activity.

A two-year Federal Police investigation, "Operation Northeast", uncovered what was believed to be the largest money laundering scheme in northeastern Brazil, in the state of Cear�. The case involves a local businessman who allegedly used his 15 companies to launder at least $150 million-the same companies linked to previous investigations. As a result of the evidence already uncovered, the central bank canceled the authorization for these companies to operate in the exchange market and suspended an application by the group to set up a finance and investment company. A Federal Police task force is also working on this ongoing investigation.

The border region with Paraguay also remains a center for the laundering of proceeds, mainly from illegal operations in nearby Ciudad del Este, through local businesses and exchange houses. Officials stated that nearly 40 percent of the businesses in Foz de Iguazu were companies created as fronts to launder profits by local organized crime. A central bank official indicated that $18 million was being laundered daily in banking agencies in Foz de Iguazu. One method is to employ Paraguayans and Brazilians living in Brazil to open special non-resident, "CC-5" accounts, which can legally send money abroad, in the Brazilian border cities. Criminals also employ "laranjas" (oranges), poor people who essentially sell the use of their names to illegal businesses. The public prosecutor in the town of Cascavel identified the accounts of 310 such poor people from whose accounts $5 billion was transferred out of the country. Documents showed that in 1997, $18 million was transferred abroad from the account of one man alone, who earns $150 per month.

In the face of the CPI and Federal Police investigations in 1999, several exchange houses in Foz de Iguazu shut down operations. Although some agencies may still operate illegally, increased scrutiny has resulted in a decrease in the number of exchange houses authorized by the central bank from 40 to 15.

Although the laundering of proceeds from drugs and other crimes remains a major problem in Brazil, recent efforts by the government show that Brazil is taking the problem seriously. High-profile Congressional investigations have led to dozens of arrests and brought new energy and enthusiasm for rooting out drug trafficking, corruption and related money laundering. In October 1997, Brazil and the United States signed an MLAT that has been ratified by the United States but is not yet in force. New financial regulations should help the COAF, central bank, and other regulatory agencies collect and track information, and investigate and successfully prosecute financial crimes. When fully implemented, these new measures should demonstrate Brazil to be a regional leader in the global fight against money laundering.

British Virgin Islands (Concern). The British Virgin Islands (BVI), a United Kingdom (UK) Caribbean Overseas Territory (COT), is one of the larger offshore financial centers in the Caribbean. Money laundering occurs in the BVI, particularly at the layering and integration stages. UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has directed the UK overseas territories to enforce the highest international standards of financial regulation to preclude their being used for money laundering. The BVI continues to focus its efforts on thwarting money laundering.

On September 29, 1999, the Anti-Money Laundering Code of Practice 1999 was approved by the Governor-in-Council of the BVI. The Code provides guidance for all licensed financial service activities and establishes clear and definite procedures for the identification and verification of clients, maintenance and retention of records, and maintenance of a register of money laundering inquiries. The Code also makes relevant institutions and persons subject to due diligence audits by the Director of Financial Services or other designated individuals, to ensure compliance with the Code. Previously, these audits were conducted informally. The Code also mandates the appointment of compliance officers, establishing internal reporting procedures for identifying and reporting transactions, and training staff. The Code complements the Anti-Money Laundering Guidance Notes for the BVI Financial Sector prepared by the Territory's Joint Anti-Money Laundering Coordinating Committee.

The Proceeds of Criminal Conduct (Designated Countries and Territories) Order, 1999 was also approved on September 29, 1999 by the Executive Council of the BVI. The Order provides that, subject to certain modifications, the Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Act, 1997, applies to an order made by a court in a designated country or territory for the purpose of recovering payments or other rewards received in connection with money laundering or their value. It also applies to proceedings that have been, or are to be, instituted in a designated country or territory and may result in an order being made there. The Order also provides that the value of any property recovered in a designated country or territory for assistance in the enforcement of an order is to be treated as reducing the amount payable in the territory under a confiscation order made by the High Court.

The Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Act expands the scope of anti-money laundering legislation to cover the proceeds of all serious crime. The Act is closely modeled on British law and creates four types of offenses: assisting another to retain the benefit of the proceeds of criminal conduct; acquisition, possession or use of the proceeds of criminal conduct; concealing or transferring the proceeds of criminal conduct; and tipping off. Under the Act, suspicious currency transactions must be forwarded to a Reporting Authority, whose chairman is the director of the Financial Services Department.

The Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) within the Financial Services Department is responsible for the investigation of fraud and money laundering. Three individuals staff the Unit: an Inspector detailed from the UK police force (the Head of the Unit), a Sergeant and an Acting Sergeant. The FIU receives reports of suspicious transactions from the Reporting Authority, individuals and businesses. The reports are analyzed at the FIU. Most investigations relate to international business companies (IBCs) and other offshore entities. The FIU has an excellent relationship with other BVI government agencies and has no difficulty obtaining information from these agencies on suspects in investigations. The FIU was admitted to the Egmont Group at the Plenary meeting in Bratislava on May 27, 1999.

There have been no prosecutions for money laundering in the BVI.

Financial services remain the largest sector of the BVI economy. The BVI has developed as an important jurisdiction for international finance and commerce, the incorporation and management of offshore companies, and the provision of offshore financial and corporate services. There are now over 300,000 IBCs registered in the BVI. A 1988 amendment permits a bank, insurance, or reinsurance company to be an IBC, but does not allow a registry agent forming other companies to be one. A company that is not an IBC must be established under the stricter Companies Act and is taxed at a rate of 15 percent. An IBC can be used for investment and property holding and for financial management, including offshore banking, trading, copyrighting, licensing, unit trusts, mutual funds, and personal trusts. IBCs can have offices in the BVI and be managed from within the Islands without being subject to BVI income taxes and stamp duties. An IBC is not allowed to do business with individuals who reside in the BVI.

Offshore banks can be formed in the British Virgin Islands only by backers who are financially strong and are willing to file and publish audited financial statements. There are currently 13 offshore banks in the BVI. Registered agents adhere to a strict Code of Conduct, which is being given statutory authority by the BVI government. The Code covers know-your-customer procedures, reporting requirements and record keeping procedures. All banking institutions and trusts must obtain a license from the Government before doing business. BVI policy with respect to bank licensing is that, unless the bank is predominantly locally owned and doing business in the BVI, offshore banking activities will not be permitted unless the bank is a branch, subsidiary or affiliate of a well established bank with a proven track record that is subject to effective supervision by the bank supervisory authority. Such banks must have a principal office on the Islands and appoint at least two directors and two individuals who will serve as authorized agents and as intermediaries between the licensee and the Governor or Inspector of Banks and Trust Companies.

In addition to banking institutions and trusts, insurance companies in the BVI must be licensed. Insurance companies are discouraged from selling directly to the public, but re-insurers and captive insurance companies (an insurance company owned by the entity it insures) are attracted by the BVI's quick and easy organization procedures. Captives may be taken over "off the shelf." The absence of controls on the types of insurance captives may write has drawn many companies interested in self-insuring to the BVI.

The BVI's 1992 Trustee (Amendment) Act made trusts more attractive. The Act releases the settler from forced or statutory inheritance provisions by stating that he is not bound by any rule of inheritance or succession laws of the country in which he is domiciled. The life of the trust can be up to 100 years. The law also grants complete exemption from BVI taxation to non-residents of the BVI unless a trust asset is land or a business conducted in the territory.

To ensure that international criminals do not abuse its territories, the UK has proposed that a study be conducted of its Overseas Territories' financial services industries. The Government of the BVI has joined the Governments of Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Montserrat in requesting a review. The study will cover all banking practices and banking legislation.

As a member of the CFATF, the BVI underwent a CFATF mutual evaluation in July 1999, and assumed the CFATF chairmanship in October 1999.

The MLAT between the United States and the United Kingdom concerning the Cayman Islands was made applicable to the BVI in 1990.

The BVI's regulatory legislation meets international standards, such as those established by the FATF and the OGBS. However, the BVI must fully implement its Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Act to have an effective anti-money laundering program.

Brunei (Other). Brunei is neither an illicit drug consumer nor trafficking country, and there are no strong indications that Brunei is being used for money laundering. Nevertheless, the Government of Brunei (GOB) has in place a strong anti-drug program, and has drafted anti-money laundering legislation. The legislation was still undergoing legal review in late 1999 but the GOB announced that the law would be put into place soon. Anticipating such a law, in 1999 Brunei authorities initiated a cooperative effort with regional U.S. anti-drug officials to investigate a potential money laundering scheme.

Asset forfeiture laws are used in Brunei's drug-related cases.

Brunei is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Bulgaria (Concern). The economic factors associated with Bulgaria's transition to a market economy, and the resulting instability, have created favorable conditions for financial crime and money laundering to flourish, especially in the mid- and late-1990s. Bulgaria serves as a major narcotics transit country along the Balkan Route, especially for narcotics destined to Western Europe through Romania. Both foreign and domestic sources of illegal proceeds are laundered in Bulgaria. Foreign sources of suspected illegal proceeds transit Bulgarian banks and are eventually transferred abroad. These transactions are conducted in violation of Bulgarian foreign exchange and other laws. Bulgarian banks are used as conduits for funds that are suspected of being connected to drug trafficking or other crimes committed abroad. Besides narcotics trafficking, the major sources of criminal proceeds laundered in Bulgaria have included smuggling, financial institution fraud, auto theft, alien smuggling, prostitution, tax evasion, tax fraud and extortion.

The types of financial institutions used to launder proceeds have included banks, casinos, currency exchanges, real estate companies, used car dealerships, and non-bank financial institutions such as brokerage firms and insurance companies. Bulgarian banks are used to launder funds from foreign sources, especially from former socialist countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries. The types of monetary instruments used to launder proceeds include cash-primarily U.S. dollars and German marks-bank drafts, travelers' checks, and wire transfers.

Bulgaria's anti-money laundering legislation, Law on Measures against Money Laundering, became effective on July 24, 1998. Money laundering was simultaneously criminalized by the addition of Articles 253 and 253a to the Bulgarian Criminal Code. The criminal provisions apply to all proceeds derived from all serious crimes.

The anti-money laundering law provides for a definition of money laundering, the types of transactions and financial institutions covered by the law, customer identification, recordkeeping requirements, suspicious transaction reporting, a financial intelligence unit, and the establishment of internal rules for financial institutions to implement an anti-money laundering program.

The Bureau of Financial Intelligence (BFI) of the Ministry of Finance is Bulgaria's financial intelligence unit and has jurisdictional responsibly for money laundering violations. The BFI is a member of the Egmont Group. Ministry of Finance "Decree on the Structure and the Organization of Bureau of Financial Intelligence Activities" formally established the functions of the BFI. The BFI is an administrative agency composed of three main divisions. One division collects, processes, analyzes and stores suspicious transaction reports. The second division is responsible for international relations and the international exchange of information. The third division exchanges information with Bulgarian agencies.

Bulgaria is a member of the Council of Europe and participates in the Council of Europe's PC-R-EV. In November 1999, Bulgaria underwent a mutual evaluation by the PC-R-EV. The evaluation provided detailed suggestions to improve Bulgaria's anti-money laundering program.

Bulgaria has made commendable progress in adopting and implementing anti-money laundering legislation. As Bulgaria continues to implement its anti-money laundering regime, taking into account the recommendations of the PC-R-EV report will give Bulgaria a more effective regime that fully meets international standards for combating money laundering.

Burma (Primary). The sheer volume of proceeds derived from narcotics production and trafficking, and official toleration of the laundering of narcotics proceeds, make Burma a country of major concern for money laundering. Narcotics proceeds figure prominently in the Burmese economy. Although there is no reliable information on the extent of money laundering, some insurgent groups fund their activities through proceeds derived from narcotics trafficking. Domestic narcotics proceeds and proceeds laundered abroad are very significant factors in the overall Burmese economy, and widely and openly invested in business, real estate and infrastructure projects. In some cases, investments of narcotics proceeds in public works projects supplement government expenditures. Such flows may be a dominant element in some local areas. The Burmese government has encouraged ethnic cease-fire groups that have been involved in narcotics trafficking to invest in legitimate businesses instead of narcotics. However, the government has not instituted a system of safeguards to prevent the investment of drug-related proceeds.

Burma is a predominately cash-based economy, and the state controls major sectors of the economy. The state-dominated financial sector is underdeveloped by international standards. The official exchange rate of the local currency to the U.S. dollar is overvalued by 60 times the black market exchange rate. Due to strict foreign exchange controls, the non-convertibility of the Burmese currency and the pervasiveness of narcotics trafficking, ethnically based alternative remittance systems (ARSs) operate throughout Burma.

The ARS, in conjunction with import/export business, is probably the most prevalent mechanism for laundering money in Burma today. In a typical case, money earned from the sale of illicit narcotics (or black market gems or precious metals) is deposited into the underground banker's account in Thailand. The money is then either exchanged and given out by his associate (in Burmese currency) to the source of supply in Burma, or it may be used to pay off import/export debts in another country, such as Singapore. Burmese import/export companies generally deal in such items as cigarettes, electronics or fabrics, and they are often owned by underground bankers who knowingly facilitate drug traffickers' proceeds in order to expedite payment to their sister companies abroad.

Burma criminalized narcotics-related money laundering with the adoption of its 1993 Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances law. The law also allows for the seizure of assets derived from narcotics trafficking. Burmese officials admit their difficulty in implementing provisions of this law due to a lack of understanding of money laundering concepts and their inability to investigate financial crimes. Burma does not have a financial intelligence unit, nor is it active in international or regional anti-money laundering fora.

The challenge before Burma is to criminalize money laundering to include all serious crimes that generate criminal proceeds and adopt legislation that provides measures for detecting, monitoring, and enforcing money laundering activity. It should enforce existing anti-money laundering measures and should cooperate more fully with international attempts to prosecute narcotics traffickers and their money laundering operations.

Cambodia (Concern). Cambodia is not a major domestic or offshore financial center, but crime, corruption, and money laundering are on the rise. Cambodia is a source country for marijuana, and serves as a transit country for heroin trafficking from the Golden Triangle. Cambodia has experienced an increased presence of foreign organized crime activity, and narcotics-related money laundering is a growing problem. The Cambodian alternative remittance system allows criminals to easily hide and transfer their proceeds without official scrutiny. Enforcement personnel are untrained to investigate financial crimes and money laundering. Official corruption plays a major role facilitating criminal activity.

The primary sources of criminal proceeds include narcotics trafficking, smuggling, prostitution, illegal gambling, alien smuggling, and corruption. Criminal proceeds are laundered in a variety of ways, including the use of financial institutions, cross border currency movements, the purchase of real estate, investments in businesses, and credit transactions. Cambodia's growing casino industry is particularly vulnerable to money laundering because of the volume of cash turnover and connections to organized crime.

Banks play a minor financial role in Cambodia's economy-there are 30 in the country and only a few conduct significant volumes of domestic business. Cambodia is a cash intensive economy and in some regions of the country, gold is used instead of currency. The public has little confidence in the commercial banking system, and fees can be prohibitive for the average Cambodian. An alternative remittance system is available for Cambodians to transfer funds internationally. It is also an effective mechanism to transfer and launder criminal proceeds. In the early 1980s, its use became widespread by expatriate Cambodians living abroad to send earnings to their families in Cambodia. It is identical to the Chinese and Indian systems developed centuries ago to remit funds and send letters between these countries and expatriate communities established abroad. The system relies on a network of businesses such as jewelry stores, travel agencies, money exchangers, finance companies, and import/export companies. The system, which operates throughout Asia, is successful because it operates on the principle of trust that is enforced by family, social, ethnic, commercial, and organized crime ties.

Cambodia criminalized narcotics-related money laundering with the adoption in 1996 of its Law on Drug Control. Although this law focuses on narcotics trafficking, it includes general anti-money laundering provisions for customer identification, suspicious transaction reporting and the establishment of an Anti-Money Laundering Commission subordinate to the Prime Minister's Office to process these reports, record keeping requirements, and provisions for anti-money laundering training in Cambodian financial institutions The composition and functions of the Anti-Money Laundering Commission were to be promulgated through decree at a later date. These measures have not yet been implemented.

In practical terms, agency jurisdiction to enforce money laundering has yet to be determined and the Anti-Money Laundering Commission has yet to be established. Money laundering offenses are investigated by the agency charged with enforcing the predicate crimes that generate the illegal proceeds. Unfortunately, the Cambodian institutions required to effectively counter money laundering-the enforcement agencies, the courts, and financial institutions-are not trained to detect, investigate, and prosecute money laundering. For this reason, money laundering is for the most part left unchecked by Cambodian authorities.

Cambodia is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering and has assisted neighboring countries in investigating money laundering operations.

Cambodia is aware of the need to enforce its anti-money laundering legislation and to take the appropriate measures to combat money laundering. It should make efforts to educate its officials and financial institutions in anti-money laundering methods and implement existing measures to monitor and enforce money-laundering activity.

Cameroon (Other). Cameroon is not a major drug-producing country, nor is it a regional or international financial center. Illicit drugs transit Cameroon, but there is no information to indicate this has led to significant money laundering activity.

Cameroon's banking system is controlled by a regional central bank serving the six member countries of the Central African subregion.

Cameroon is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. There is no information indicating the status of Cameroon's compliance with the money laundering precepts of the Convention. The government initiated no new actions in 1999 to meet the Convention's goals and objectives.

Canada (Primary). Canada remains vulnerable to money laundering due to its advanced financial services, lack of reporting requirements for suspicious financial transactions, and heavy cross-border flow of currency and monetary instruments. Canada is home to virtually every ethnic organized crime group in the world. Numerous Russian organized crime figures live in or visit Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa to launder criminal proceeds through financial institutions or stock exchanges. Italian organized crime syndicates-particularly the Sicilian Mafia-are heavily involved in drug trafficking, money laundering, gambling and extortion in Canada. Asian organized crime groups, which have been active in Canada for three decades, are involved in a variety of criminal activities such as drug trafficking and money laundering-including the use of an underground banking system to launder criminal proceeds. Canada has financial institutions which engage in currency transactions involving international narcotics proceeds that include significant amounts of U.S. dollars.

Canada's Proceeds of Crime Act, which came into force in March of 1993, contains anti-money laundering sections but criminalizes money laundering only for drug offenses and enterprise crimes. It lacks both cross-border currency reporting requirements and suspicious activity reporting (SAR) requirements (the reporting of SARs is strictly voluntary.) The legislation also lacks a currency transaction reporting (CTR) requirement. The depositor and the financial institution are only required to maintain a record of any CTR at or above $6,890 for five years. The CTRs are not forwarded to authorities unless they are requested through a subpoena. These reports are merely intended to preserve the audit trail for investigators and prosecutors.

Canada is in the process of strengthening its defense against money laundering. In 1999, the Government of Canada (GOC) introduced legislation on money laundering to address some of the FATF Forty Recommendations on countering money laundering. The legislation, currently before Parliament, will bring Canada's money laundering laws into further compliance with FATF requirements. The draft rules are the government's latest step toward stricter monitoring of large financial transactions, following years of criticism from the United States and other countries that already possess tough measures. The draft regulations contain mandatory suspicious transaction reporting requirements, reporting requirements for currency transactions exceeding $6,890, and requirements to report currency and monetary instruments in excess of $10,344 transported across the border. A new government body, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FTRAC), will collect and analyze reports of suspicious transactions from financial institutions and financial intermediaries. This proposed financial intelligence unit (FIU) will make the determination as to which SARs merit investigation.

Under the proposed law, currency transactions of $6,890 or more would have to be reported to the Centre by deposit-taking institutions, currency exchanges, securities dealers, life insurance companies and casinos. Reporting requirements would also apply if an individual transacted two or more payments, totaling $6,890 or more, on a single day, as well as transactions involving five or more C$ 1,000 ($689) bills. Many dealings involving payment for professional fees or services would be exempt from the reporting regime. Transition teams to set up this agency were already in place by the end of 1999.

The GOC intends to have FTRAC recognized by the Egmont Group as an FIU. The new anti-money laundering regulations will authorize FTRAC to negotiate and set guidelines so that it can share information with foreign counterparts.

Canada is a member of the FATF, and underwent a second FATF mutual evaluation in May 1997. Canada also participates in the CFATF as a Cooperating and Supporting Nation.

Canada has long-standing agreements on law enforcement cooperation with the United States, including extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties.

Canada should be encouraged to expeditiously enact the regulations requiring the mandatory reporting of suspicious transactions, large currency transactions, cross-border movements of currency and monetary instruments, and the establishment of an FIU. The Government should ensure that the FIU meets Egmont standards, especially with regard to information sharing. Canada also needs to expand money-laundering offenses beyond drug offenses and enterprise crimes to include all serious crimes.

Cayman Islands (Primary). The Cayman Islands, a UK Caribbean Overseas Territory (COT), has an extremely large offshore sector and thus remains vulnerable to money laundering. In March 1999, UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook released a White Paper directing Britain's Overseas Territories to bring their financial and criminal legislation in line with that of the UK, as part of an agreement granting UK citizenship to citizens of Britain's Overseas Territories. In response, the Government of the Cayman Islands has taken new steps to strengthen its defenses against money laundering. In 1999, an anti-money laundering committee, consisting of representatives of both the public and the private sector, completed a code of practice, which was sent to the Executive Council for final approval. Additionally, the banking industry and the mutual funds industry drafted codes of conduct focusing on know-your-customer issues, suspicious activity and money laundering. The insurance sector and the companies management sector (which regulates registration of international business companies) are expected to write their drafts in early 2000. Included in the drafts is the stipulation that the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) will supervise building societies, credit unions and money service providers, which will have to follow the same know-your-customer procedures as those laid out in the code of practice and code of conduct for the other financial institutions. CIMA will regulate and supervise these sectors to ensure that they are following the same procedures as the rest of the financial services industry. CIMA was originally established in 1997 with regulatory and supervisory authority over the financial industry. In addition to regulating the financial services industry, CIMA also manages currency and reserves.

In December 1998, the Assembly removed a clause from its Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Law that had prevented the Cayman authorities from cooperating with other jurisdictions on financial offenses. The change states that, provided the offense is a crime under Cayman law, the Islands' authorities will cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking and other offenses. However, the Cayman Islands will not cooperate in investigating tax evasion, since there is no direct taxation there.

The Cayman Islands' Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Law, which criminalized money laundering from all crimes, was considered a monumental step when it was enacted in 1996. The law extended the principles of the Misuse of Drugs Law to all serious crimes and created four new offenses: money laundering, assisting in money laundering, receiving the proceeds of another's criminal conduct, and tipping off. It provided for the freezing and forfeiture of the assets of those who have engaged in criminal conduct and their recipients. The law also established an Authority to which suspicious transactions are to be reported. The Authority has the power to disclose to foreign regulators information necessary to enable those regulators to carry out functions similar to those conducted by the Authority. The law has a provision for a Code of Practice, which will set forth the practical aspects of due diligence procedures and record keeping.

The Cayman Islands had no prosecutions in courts for money laundering in 1999, but individuals have been arrested for suspicion of money laundering. The Government of the Cayman Islands has been cooperative with U.S. law enforcement in financial investigations not involving tax offenses.

The Cayman Islands has a large offshore financial sector offering strict confidentiality, and has thus historically been attractive to money launderers. There are approximately 584 offshore banks on the Islands, including a number of the world's 50 largest banks. The Cayman Islands' financial sector provides a wide range of services, including private banking, brokering, mutual funds, establishment of various types of trusts, and company management. More than 44,000 international business companies are registered in the Cayman Islands.

There are several types of offshore banking licenses available in the Caymans. The most popular type of arrangement is a private bank holding a restricted "B" license. These banks can receive or request funds only when doing business with people named on a list accompanying the application. A private bank has the power to issue letters of credit and bank guarantees and to carry on business free of taxation and currency restrictions. This permits U.S. investors to trade in Eurodollar markets freely without having to provide an accounting to the U.S. Government. A restricted "B" license is granted only to a bank or trust with a net worth of at least $34,000, or more if required by the Governor. A much higher net worth ($480,000) is required for an unrestricted "B" license, which allows the holder to conduct business freely with any client outside the Cayman Islands. Applications for this type of license are normally accepted only from a branch, subsidiary or affiliate of a major international bank with substantial capital. This type of offshore bank pays $18,290 for a banking or a combined banking and trust license, and the same amount for an annual fee. An "A" or full-service bank, allowed to conduct banking business inside and outside the Cayman Islands, must pay $97,560 annually for a license. Approval is usually granted only to international banks with a sterling reputation that are subject to consolidated supervision in another reputable jurisdiction. Cayman Islands Government policy is to grant these licenses only to major international corporations in relation to their in-house banking business.

The Governor-in-Council can refuse to grant or revoke a banking license, on advice from the regulator, if he believes the licensee is conducting business in an illegal manner or in a manner that is harmful to his clients. The application for a banking license requires a substantial amount of information, including information on investors and shareholders. Banks are required to have their accounts audited by an approved firm on an annual basis, and CIMA can require repeat audits.

The Cayman Islands and the Caribbean's other offshore financial centers have been concerned over the listing by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) of 21 jurisdictions in the region (among 47 worldwide) which OECD says have harmful tax regimes. The OECD wants a review of the taxation regimes of jurisdictions that appear to offer an unfair advantage, and which might be open to international financial crimes. The Cayman Islands and Britain's other Overseas Territories in the region have accepted a proposal from London that independent experts be used to conduct a study of all banking practices and banking legislation in their financial services sectors to ensure that the sectors are not being abused by international criminals. This includes legislation on the offshore insurance industry, securities sector, companies and trusts, independent regulatory authorities, international cooperation and anti-money laundering legislation and preventive measures.

Despite close supervision, the Cayman Islands offshore sector remains vulnerable to abuse. An investigation of Eurobank in the Cayman Islands is still underway. In this case, individuals fraudulently billed customers' credit cards. CIMA shut Eurobank down on the grounds that the bank did not have strong know-your-customer procedures in place. The bank's assets are currently being liquidated. The investigation extends to the United States and relies on the Proceeds of Criminal Conduct law for evidence from the United States.

Recently, the Cayman Islands was involved in the laundering operations of Mexican bankers who were arrested in Operation Casablanca by the U.S. Customs Service. Mexico's Bancomer entered a guilty plea to U.S. charges that its employees laundered drug money through Bancomer's Cayman Islands subsidiary, Mercury Bank & Trust, Ltd.

A Cayman Islands institution was identified in the U.S. General Accounting Office's (GAO) investigation of alleged money laundering by Raul Salinas through accounts at Citibank. In a report of October 1998, the GAO said Citibank formed a private investment company (Trocca) for Salinas through its Cayman Islands affiliate, Cititrust. According to the Citibank representative, Trocca was set up primarily for secrecy, tax advantages, and facilitating the distribution of assets to Mr. Salinas's family in the event of his death.

In recent developments, possible ties between two Cayman Islands bank accounts and the Russian money laundering inquiry have emerged. Thomas Renyi, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Bank of New York, confirmed that two accounts at a Cayman Islands branch were linked to Leonid Dyachenko, the husband of former Russian president Boris Yeltsin's daughter Tatyana. CIMA said that investigators would cooperate with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, the regulator for the Bank of New York.

The Cayman Islands is an active member of the CFATF, and the Caymanian Financial Secretary was Chairman of the CFATF from 1998-99.

The Cayman Islands is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and has an MLAT with the United States. The United States and the Cayman Islands have begun negotiations to expand the existing MLAT to cover criminal tax matters. The Cayman Islands is a member of the OGBS and serves on the informal advisory board of the UN Offshore Forum.

Due to its popular offshore banking industry and confidentiality laws, it is essential that the Cayman Islands continues its diligence in regulating and enforcing its anti-money laundering program. The Cayman Islands should be encouraged to implement its new code of practice and to expeditiously complete, and implement, its codes of conduct for its financial services industry.

Chile (Concern). Chile has a dynamic market-oriented economy and a relatively well-developed financial sector, but it has not yet become a major regional financial center, nor is it an important tax haven or offshore banking center. Money laundering remains a threat due to inadequate laws. All known cases of money laundering have been related to the narcotics-trafficking activities of Mexican cartels attempting to launder their profits through the banking sector and through investments in construction projects.

Despite arrests and investigations carried out during the past two years by the Council for the Defense of the State (CDE), the agency with jurisdiction over money laundering investigations, not a single conviction on money laundering charges has been obtained. This is due mostly to the inadequacies of the law, which requires actual seizures of drugs in Chile. In January 1995, Chile enacted Counternarcotics Law No. 19366, which criminalized money laundering related to the illicit narcotics trade. The law allows banks to report suspicious activities to the CDE, but does not require them to do so. The Law does not contain safe harbor provisions to protect banks from liability for reporting suspicious transactions, and as a result, banks rarely do so. In October 1995 a Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) was established within the CDE to receive the reports of suspicious transactions and conduct money laundering investigations. The Unit (Department for the Control of Illicit Drug Trafficking) was admitted into the Egmont Group of FIUs in 1998.

Under the 1995 Narcotics Law, the Council (for up to 60 days) and a judge (for an indefinite period) can seize assets derived from narcotics-related activities. A judge can seize narcotics-related assets and temporarily turn them over to the CDE or law enforcement until a conviction is obtained. After conviction, the assets pass to the Ministry of National Property where non-liquid assets are sold at public auction. The Law does not address sharing seized narcotics assets with other governments.

Since March 1996, currency exchange houses have been required to issue a receipt and to keep records identifying both the buyer and seller on all foreign exchange transactions over $10,000. Copies of the receipts are sent to the Internal Tax Service; the information is also available to the CDE. Failure to complete the invoice and report the transaction carries criminal sanctions. In March 1997, the Chilean Superintendency of Banks and the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors entered into an agreement to cooperate in the supervision of cross-border branches and other establishments of banking organizations incorporated in both Chile and the United States. Each regulator has undertaken to notify the other of applications filed by banking organizations from the other country and of any supervisory concerns with respect to the local operations of banking organizations from the other country, and to exchange other information relevant to their ongoing supervision of operations from the other country. They will also cooperate in carrying out on-site inspections of cross-border establishments in the host country and may share information on the results of audits or examinations.

As a result of the Judicial Reform Law enacted in September 1997, Chile continues the transition from an inquisitorial to an adversarial judicial system The law also established a new Attorney General's office.

The Government of Chile (GOC) is making a concerted effort to address the inadequacies in its Narcotics Law. There is consensus among the Government agencies on the need to criminalize the laundering of proceeds from other serious crimes and to require the reporting of suspicious financial transactions. There is also consensus about the possible need for an FIU with different functions and expanded resources. As a result, the present FIU may be expanded, or a new one created under another government entity. Strengthening anti-money laundering efforts has finally received the attention of the highest levels of the GOC, including that of the new Administration. Acting on this realization will further protect Chilean financial institutions and society from the ravages of money laundering.

China (Primary). China's introduction of free-market reforms to its centrally planned economy has created new conditions for financial crime and money laundering to thrive. Legal reforms have been slow to keep pace with the rapidly evolving criminal sector. The availability of anonymous bank accounts and the Chinese underground banking system allow criminals to hide and transfer their proceeds with impunity. In addition, enforcement personnel are understaffed and underpaid, and are not trained to investigate financial crimes and money laundering Official corruption plays a major role in facilitating criminal activity and in obstructing investigations. Crime rates are spiraling with increases in narcotics trafficking, smuggling, auto theft, alien smuggling, racketeering, and intellectual property counterfeiting. Tax evasion, banking fraud, and the theft of state-owned assets have also increased. The laundering of criminal proceeds from these predicate crimes has become a particularly acute enforcement concern. Although crime rates in China are low in comparison with those of the United States and other Western countries, their growth threatens China's economic security and undermines future economic reforms.

Organized crime groups from Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Japan are known to launder money through joint ventures and real estate purchases in China. Other methods used to move and launder criminal proceeds include bulk smuggling of currency, invoice manipulation, letters of credit, front companies, casinos, and the purchase of precious gems. In other schemes, illegally acquired state-owned funds are transferred to Hong Kong through gray market channels and reinvested in China as foreign capital. Not only is the Chinese state initially defrauded of its own funds through financial manipulation or outright theft, but the funds are then laundered through Hong Kong and invested in China, taking advantage of foreign investment programs that further deprive the state of revenue.

Banks play a dominant role in financing China's economy. China's state-owned banks are involved in financing up to 90 percent of Chinese business ventures This level of financial activity makes the banking system subject to theft, fraud, corruption, and other criminal activities. Local politicians direct banks within their jurisdictions to grant credit for their favored projects regardless of the merits of the venture. Inadequate regulation and supervision by the central bank, combined with government manipulation of credit transactions, are the major factors influencing bank losses.

A money laundering method widely used by ethnic Chinese communities throughout the world-and is used throughout Asia-is the underground banking system. It is the Chinese version of alternative remittance systems or parallel banking that originated in Asia centuries ago. Where the Chinese system is unavailable, the Indian version, hawala, is used to transmit money to China. Third countries such as Thailand or Singapore, where both systems are present, act as transit points. Chinese overseas workers originally used this remittance system to send earnings to their families in China. The system was established through the network of shops and commercial shipping routes of Chinese merchants who traveled throughout Asia. The network remitted funds and letters between China and Chinese communities abroad.

The underground banking system can transfer large sums of money efficiently and quickly without leaving financial records tied to the transactions. The paper trail is eliminated by avoiding official reporting requirements to Customs authorities that bulk cash or monetary instruments would attract at the border, and commercial bank reporting requirements that cash or suspicious transactions require. The system is still used for its traditional purpose, however, it is also used for tax evasion and as a means to move and launder criminal proceeds. Chinese underground banking is successful since it operates on the principle of trust that is enforced by family, social, ethnic, commercial, and organized crime ties.

China has taken modest steps to respond to money laundering. With the adoption of its Criminal Code in 1997, China criminalized money laundering for the proceeds of narcotics, organized crime, and smuggling under Article 191. Although Chinese authorities have successfully prosecuted several cases under this Article, this statute is limited in addressing China's money laundering problem. For Article 191 to be an effective enforcement tool, it must address the entire spectrum of serious crimes generating the proceeds laundered in China. Furthermore, China has yet to adopt comprehensive anti-money laundering legislation establishing the requisite mechanisms to effectively prevent and detect money-laundering activities.

Despite China's weak anti-money laundering statute, the government is adopting and examining measures to address financial crimes and money laundering. These efforts are connected to capital flight, illegal foreign exchange trading, and reforms in the banking sector.

The State Administration of Foreign Exchange with the General Administration of Customs issued a regulation that took effect in August 1999 requiring the licensing of exports of $10,000 or more in foreign currency by Chinese citizens. This regulation was issued to rein in the transfer of illegal proceeds masquerading as capital flight. These schemes include proceeds from invoice manipulation of trade goods, illegal trade in foreign exchange, falsification of foreign trade statistics, and other questionable transactions. In October 1999, the Ministry of Public Security announced the recovery in 1998 of $10 billion in illegally converted yuan, the local currency. Fearing a yuan devaluation, Chinese companies, many of them owned by state or local administrations, illegally exchanged these funds for foreign currency. Although the bulk of these funds may at first glance be attributed to capital flight, the proceeds of crime are sure to figure into these statistics. The distinction between the two is hard to determine given the shades of illegality of the funds' origins, methods of currency conversion and transfer, and the use of document falsification.

The state agencies that enforce foreign exchange laws have cracked down on illegal foreign exchange trading during 1999 through a series of enforcement operations. Under China's foreign exchange system, the government strictly regulates the exchange of yuan to foreign currency. Since 1994, only authorized banks have been permitted to conduct currency exchange. The foreign exchange is held in accounts strictly regulated by the central bank. To circumvent government scrutiny of the exchange of yuan proceeds derived from crime and other illegal activities within China, a black market in currency trading developed. Criminal proceeds in yuan must be exchanged into a convertible foreign currency to be of use outside China.

Starting in 1998 and throughout 1999, several government agencies, among them the central bank, proposed abolishing the use of anonymous accounts, a feature of China's centrally planned economy. During this era of collective ownership of property, individuals opened accounts associated with their household or family enterprise rather than under their own name. Commercial banks allowed individuals to choose obviously fictitious names when opening accounts. Neither the central bank nor any other regulatory agency exercises control over the registration of these accounts. In addition, these accounts are fully transferable. As a result, proving the beneficial ownership of these accounts is nearly impossible. On January 20, the head of the People's Bank of China (China's central bank) stated that the Bank planned to adopt a "real name system" for deposit accounts sometime in 2000 in order to aid tax collection and fight corruption. However, he added, the proposed rule change will apply only to new accounts, in order to avoid "serious disruption" to the banking system.

Private firms and state-owned banks use these accounts for purely economic reasons. They hold reserve cash accounts at more favorable interest rates than those offered by official central bank accounts sanctioned by the government. These accounts, however, facilitate tax evasion, payment of bribes, money laundering, and other illegal activities. Although China is concerned about the misuse of these accounts, the government has not yet abolished their use. The reasons cited by government officials include the lack of automation within many Chinese banks and the banking system's general lack of development.

In 1998 and 1999 China instituted a number of banking reforms to improve supervision of the banking system, including the reorganization of the central bank into nine regional branches patterned after the U.S. Federal Reserve System. The new regional branches were granted regulatory authority to prevent manipulation of credit by local politicians, and to prevent financial crime within the banking system. In addition, the performance rating of regional directors of the central bank branches is directly tied to deterring and preventing financial scandals. The central bank was also forced to divest itself of direct operation in the thousands of associated businesses it owned. Although the purpose of these reforms was to modernize the banking sector, these changes will facilitate the implementation of anti-money laundering measures in China's financial institutions, once China adopts anti-money laundering legislation consistent with international practice. The shedding of central bank's business connections will allow it to perform its supervisory functions more objectively by eliminating conflict of interest concerns.

China does not have a financial intelligence unit, although the Economic Crimes Investigations Department (ECID) of the Ministry of Public Security is charged with investigating incidents of money laundering and other financial crimes such as counterfeiting, underground banking, and tax fraud. In November 1999, an ECID delegation visited the United States to discuss money laundering and financial crime issues with a variety of agencies from the Departments of State, Justice, and Treasury. The major focus of their visit was to establish working relationships with U.S. agencies and to gather information to improve China's ability to combat money laundering and financial crimes. Money laundering topics of discussion included legislation, information automation, and suspicious transaction reporting, as well as other anti-money laundering measures.

The United States and China continue to hold discussions on cooperation in such fields as combating international organized crime, narcotics trafficking, alien smuggling, counterfeiting, and money laundering through the auspices of the U.S.-PRC Joint Liaison Group (JLG) on law enforcement cooperation. The JLG was established in May 1998 on the basis of a memorandum of understanding. The next JLG meeting will be held in Beijing in early to mid 2000.

In March 1999, during the second round of discussions of the JLG, the question of Chinese membership in the FATF was referred to Chinese government representatives for consideration. The Chinese government raised several political issues regarding FATF membership and requested additional information on the FATF that was forwarded to them in April 1999. The FATF cooperates closely with international and regional organizations concerned with combating money laundering, including the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG). China participated in the initial meeting of the APG and hosted the first round of working group meetings in Beijing in July 1997. However, China has not attended subsequent meetings of the APG

The United States and China are near completion of a framework for mutual legal assistance. Both sides signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement in 1998 that speeds communication and enhances the flow of counternarcotics intelligence.

China does not allow the licensing of banks or corporations for offshore operations. Hong Kong, a premier offshore center, continues to service China's offshore needs. China's Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are frequently confused with offshore centers. During the early 1980s, China established four SEZs along the southeastern coast near Hong Kong and Taiwan and granted them legislative autonomy in passing laws favorable to foreign investment, as well as generous government funding for development. By 1993, thousands of SEZs were in existence, rendering the designation meaningless. The government finally revoked the preferential tax treatment of all the SEZs with the adoption of a uniform national tax code in 1994. However, with relative autonomy from Beijing in adopting economic legislation, some SEZs went quite far in embracing capitalism. The SEZ's may offer anonymous accounts, a convenient avenue for money laundering.

As first steps in combating money laundering, China must expand its money laundering legislation to include all serious crimes that generate criminal proceeds. It must also abolish the use of anonymous, numbered, or pseudonym accounts that shield the beneficial owner of the funds. Legislation that provides for controls in detecting, monitoring, and enforcing money laundering activity in the financial and commercial sectors would be a logical second step. China must make efforts to address the related issues that encourage money laundering. The slow pace of economic reform, and development of the rule of law, combined with the prevalence of corruption and organized crime, allows money laundering to flourish. These anti-money laundering actions can serve as regulatory and enforcement tools to root out financial crime, corruption, and organized crime in China and discourage the laundering of foreign proceeds.

Colombia (Primary). During 1999, significant anti-money laundering developments occurred in Colombia. In order to assist the Colombian Customs and Tax Directorate's (DIAN) efforts to identify and attack smuggling crimes, including the smuggling of consumer goods paid for with U.S. narcotics proceeds through the Black Market Peso Exchange (BMPE) system, the Colombian National Police detailed 500 officers, and anticipates raising that figure to 1000 during CY 2000. This increased anti-smuggling activity is having an effect on the BMPE and making it more difficult to repatriate U.S. narcotics dollars in the form of smuggled goods. Colombia has financial institutions which engage in currency transactions involving international narcotics proceeds that include significant amounts of U.S. dollars.

On August 12, 1999, legislation was enacted establishing, for the first time, a unified central Financial Information and Analysis Unit (FIAU). The FIAU, established within the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, will have the authority to receive and act upon all suspicious and large value reports filed by Colombian financial institutions, as well as interact with all other Colombian public and private institutions having information concerning possible financial crimes. The FIAU should expedite money laundering investigations by the Fiscalia by providing the prosecutors with analyzed information concerning suspect transactions.

Colombia criminalized the laundering of the proceeds of all illegal activities in 1995. In 1998, the Prosecutor General's Office established a special money laundering unit to investigate and prosecute cases under the law, but there still has not been a single money laundering conviction. This is attributable in part to the high rate of turnover within the money laundering unit, making it difficult for the unit to develop the requisite expertise in this highly complex area. The unit has also encountered difficulties in developing its money laundering investigations sufficiently to prove the underlying illegal activity required for a money laundering conviction. Colombia's banks continue to comply with the reporting requirements designed to flag suspicious transactions and have been very cooperative with U.S. efforts to curtail financial transactions by individuals and entities designated as involved with narcotics trafficking.

Colombia's 1996 asset forfeiture statute permits criminal forfeiture of drug and money laundering proceeds, provides for forfeiture of substitute assets, and permits in rem forfeiture when assets are held in the name of a nominee or have been transferred. While Colombia used this statute in 1999 to seize millions of dollars of narco-related assets, the legal process of converting those seizures into forfeitures remains stalled in the judicial system. There have been only three final forfeitures since the forfeiture law was enacted in 1996. More than fifty cases are pending, including many that involve the former leaders of the Cali Cartel.

The Colombian Ministry of Justice and Law, along with the Office of the Presidency, has embarked on an ambitious effort to reform and streamline several of the procedural and other impediments to effective asset forfeiture. In June, President Pastrana issued extraordinary decrees establishing, among other things, an abbreviated forfeiture procedure and authority to liquidate certain types of property pending forfeiture. These reforms were invalidated when the Constitutional Court struck down, on procedural grounds, the underlying statute giving the President legal authority to issue such extraordinary decrees. However, the Ministry of Justice and Law has incorporated these and other reforms into new draft legislation it will propose to the Colombian Congress.

Building upon their execution of a 1998 U.S. request for assistance in the Operation Casablanca money laundering investigation, Colombia successfully executed the U.S. request for legal assistance in the BMPE money laundering investigation entitled Operation Juno. As part of Operation Juno, Colombian authorities executed seizure warrants on more than 25 banks and restrained approximately $150,000 in Colombian bank accounts.

In December 1999, the United States delivered a first installment of shared assets in the amount of $5,825,000, from U.S. forfeitures of assets belonging to deceased narcotics trafficker Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha. The United States transferred these assets in recognition of Colombian assistance in achieving the forfeitures. Pursuant to a supplemental sharing MOU signed in October of 1998, a Bilateral Committee of Colombian and U.S. law enforcement officials reviewed and approved projects to be funded in Colombia using these assets. Among the projects approved for this first installment are joint law enforcement training for Colombian law enforcement agencies, initial funds for a multi-agency law enforcement academy, training for the four specialized units of agents and prosecutors under the Attorney General, training and substantial start-up funds for the new Colombian Tax and Customs Police unit, funding for prosecutor and witness protection, initial funds for Colombia's new financial intelligence unit, expansion of wiretapping, and automated fingerprinting capabilities. Colombian law still does not permit reciprocal asset sharing to the United States.

Even though progress has been made with respect to fighting money laundering, Colombia has fallen short in its implementation of the money laundering and asset forfeiture laws. The Colombian congress has yet to pass an international asset forfeiture provision that is in line with the 1988 UN Drug Convention standards. The Government of Colombia must systematically enforce the laws and, most importantly, prosecute money launderers to disrupt and close their operations.

Comoros (Other). Comoros is neither a major producer nor consumer of illicit drugs, but it is a transshipment route. However, Comoros is not a financial center, and the small size of its financial sector --one bank -- indicates that it is not likely to be one in the immediate future. There is no information on the sources or extent of money laundering, if any.

Comoros is not a signatory to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Cook Islands (Concern). This self-governing group of islands in the South Pacific maintains a free association with New Zealand. Cook Islanders are citizens of New Zealand, and the Cook Islands are part of the British Commonwealth. The Cook Islands have a well-established offshore sector known for its good asset protection features. Financial transactions through the Cook Islands' offshore center have received increasing international attention because of alleged ties to Russian criminal activities. The offshore services available in the Cook Islands include International Business Companies (IBCs), banks, insurance companies, and trusts. Marketers of offshore services via the Internet promote the Cook Islands as a favored jurisdiction for establishing IBCs and for its asset protection trusts. The anonymity and confidentiality offered to financial transactions through Cook Islands IBCs appear to be particularly attractive to those linked to money laundering and other questionable activities, and may also account for the recent increase in Russian financial activity.

The International Companies Act of 1981 (amended 1982) is the legislative basis for establishing IBCs in the Cook Islands. The Act does not require the disclosure of beneficial ownership, permits bearer shares, allows the marketing of shelf companies, and allows no public access to registers of corporate directors or managers. In fact, before a corporation's records can be examined in the Companies Office Registry, the corporation must give approval in advance. Corporate documents must be written in English. Corporate entities may be listed as officers and shareholders since Cook Island IBCs have all the legal powers of a natural person except for engaging in banking and insurance activities (unless specifically licensed under the Offshore Banking Act or the Offshore Insurance Act). Resident corporate directors are not necessary, although a registered office and resident company secretary are. There is a requirement to file an annual return, but audited accounts are not required.

Although marketers of offshore services via the Internet promote the Cook Islands as a favored jurisdiction for establishing IBCs, they rate the Cook Islands as a poor choice for private international bank licenses because of regulatory controls and high capital requirements An alternative does exist: to register as an International Investment Bank (IIB) that performs investment and most functions of a traditional bank with the exception of accepting deposits. Annual licensing fees for IIBs are also much lower than for normal banks.

The Cook Islands criminalized money laundering for all serious offenses with the adoption of the Offshore Industry (Criminal Provisions) Act of 1993. The Cook Islands also adopted the related Offshore Industry (Criminal Provisions) Act of 1995-96 that provides for the protection of the Cook Islands offshore industry from serious criminal activity. The major provisions of the Offshore Industry (Criminal Provisions) Act 1995-96 apply to the six trustee companies through which all offshore transactions are conducted. These trustee companies are licensed by and maintain a close relationship with the government.

The Offshore Industry Act requires officers and employees of the trustee companies to report suspicious activities of business entities to the Cook Islands Monetary Board (Board). The suspicious activity must be related to narcotics trafficking, or the trustee companies must have actual knowledge that a person related to or involved with the business entity has been convicted of a serious crime listed under the Crimes Act of 1969. The trustee companies must provide any additional information required by the Board to substantiate the suspicion. The Board may then petition a judge of the High Court, in camera, who may then issue a court order, after due inquiry, for the offshore entity to be struck off, de-licensed, or de-registered from the appropriate register and prohibited from carrying out business in the Cook Islands. The High Court may, as part as the court order, dispose of the assets of the business entity.

Part of the asset protection attraction for setting up offshore entities in the Cook Islands is the near impossibility of proving the criminal origins of proceeds, especially of offenses committed abroad, in court. Linking criminal proceeds seized in the Cook Islands with the offense committed abroad is all but impossible, since a case may involve a complex series of financial transactions conducted by related corporations operating in several offshore jurisdictions. In addition, Cook Island investigators and prosecutors are unfamiliar with investigating these schemes. Enforcement of foreign court rulings is also a near impossibility under current Cook Islands legislation. These obstacles prevent successful prosecutions and effective cooperation with foreign counterparts for money laundering. It must be emphasized that the Act of 1995-96 is aimed at the safety and soundness of the offshore industry, rather than a means to prosecute persons engaged in money laundering.

The Cook Islands should draft additional anti-money laundering legislation that institutes measures such as suspicious transaction reporting requirements, among others, to monitor abuse of its offshore and onshore financial institutions. The standard of proof required by the Offshore Industry (Criminal Provisions) Act of 1995-96 to disbar offshore entities is too stringent for it to be an effective regulatory tool. The Cook Islands should also lift corporate secrecy for money laundering and applicable criminal investigations. Training should also be considered for Cook Island investigators and prosecutors in complex international financial transactions typical of money laundering schemes.

Costa Rica (Concern). Costa Rica is an attractive site for money laundering. Anecdotal evidence suggests that financial institutions, currency exchange houses, casinos and real estate have been used to facilitate money laundering. The absence of stringent regulatory and supervisory controls for the offshore banking sector continues to constrain law enforcement efforts and renders the financial sector vulnerable to financial crime. The sector consists of 20 foreign corporations (financial entities) and approximately 24 offshore branches of Costa Rican private banks. The foreign offshore banks adhere to the regulations established by their parent banks located outside of Costa Rica but are not subject to effective local supervision. In addition, they are required only to provide monthly balance statements and year-end audited statements to General Superintendent of Financial Entities (SUGEF).

The Costa Rican government is committed to implementing and enforcing the anti-money laundering mechanisms available through Law No. 7786 on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances of May 1998. This law criminalized the laundering of narcotics-related proceeds and introduced requirements for the reporting of suspicious transactions, currency transactions over $10,000, and cross border transport of currency. The law also established the Joint Counternarcotics Intelligence Center (CICAD), which since June 1998 has been operating a Financial Analysis Unit (FAU) responsible for receiving and analyzing suspicious financial transaction reports and investigating money laundering. Financial institutions report the suspicious financial transactions to SUGEF, which subsequently forwards the disclosures to the FAU. In June 1999, the FAU joined the Egmont Group. The FAU exchanges information with its counterparts and is currently pursuing about 20 cases for investigation.

The Narcotics Law also strengthened the asset forfeiture program by restructuring and reorganizing the National Drug Center (CENADRO), the institution responsible overseeing the asset forfeiture program and for granting permission to law enforcement agencies to dispose of forfeited assets. CENADRO is currently arranging for the disposition of substantial assets seized as a result of the narcotics-trafficking investigation on the Hidalgo Vargas brothers.

An extradition treaty is in force between the United States and Costa Rica. U.S. law enforcement agencies work effectively and in partnership with Costa Rican public security forces in counternarcotics and money laundering investigations. Although corruption is not a serious problem in Costa Rica, the government is creating a Special Anti-Corruption Unit within the Office of the Attorney General to improve its ability to investigate and refer cases of corruption to the prosecutor.

The absence of an effective regulatory and supervisory regime for the offshore banking sector in Costa Rica remains a cause for concern. In addition, the Costa Rican government should consider expanding the scope of present anti-money laundering laws beyond narcotics to include proceeds from all serious crimes.

Cote d'Ivoire (Other). Cote d'Ivoire is an important regional financial center in West Africa, but not a tax haven nor an offshore financial center. Drugs and money continue to pass through Ivoirian ports and across porous borders, along with other smuggled goods, including light arms and stolen vehicles. To the extent money laundering exists, most results from trafficking in narcotics, principally heroin and cocaine. Money laundering is concentrated in the banking system and controlled by organizations other than local traffickers. Financial fraud is mostly limited to Nigerian-type scams aimed at foreigners, and endemic smuggling of contraband does not generate profits substantial enough to require laundering. The government does not encourage, facilitate, or engage in drug money laundering activities, nor does it license offshore banks and businesses.

Laundering of money related to any activity is a criminal offense in Cote d'Ivoire. Banks are required to report suspicious transactions and maintain records of large currency transactions and to report the data to the government, which may inspect their records. Bankers are protected by law with respect to their cooperation with law enforcement entities. Money laundering controls are not applied to non-banking institutions. The government has not addressed the problem of international transportation of illegal-source currency and monetary instruments. There are controls on the amount of currency that can be brought into and out of Cote d'Ivoire There were no arrests or prosecutions reported for money laundering in 1999.

The Government of the Cote d'Ivoire (GOC) has enacted an asset forfeiture and seizure law, which can encompass mobile and immobile property, bank accounts and legitimate businesses used to launder drug money. The law makes no provision for sharing seized assets with other governments, nor does it allow for civil forfeiture. The government has yet to apply existing drug-related asset seizure and forfeiture laws. The police lack adequate resources to track and seize assets.

According to post reporting, the GOC would respond favorably to a specific request for cooperation, to the extent feasible, but it has not entered into bilateral agreements with any countries for the purpose of exchanging information on money laundering. The government has, to date, not been formally requested to cooperate with any law enforcement agency of the U.S. Government in investigating financial crimes related to narcotics.

Croatia (Other). Croatia is not a major financial or money laundering center. Croatian money laundering activities tend to be connected to financial crimes, such as tax evasion, financial and privatization fraud, bribery and corruption, rather than the laundering of narcotics proceeds. Croatia is developing a legal structure that should help it address money-laundering problems.

Turbulent political conditions in the Balkans and a cash-based economy create concerns that the banking sector could be vulnerable to money laundering. In response, Croatia criminalized money laundering in the 1997 penal code and the 1997 anti-money laundering legislation. The anti-money laundering legislation established suspicious transaction reporting requirements for bank and non-bank financial institutions and required the reporting of any currency transaction, or a series of related transactions, exceeding $17,500. The government also established criteria for suspicious transactions. The legislation provided for the establishment of a financial intelligence unit (FIU) within the Ministry of Finance. The government plans to amend other laws, such as the foreign exchange laws, to complement the anti-money laundering measures, and to adopt common law-based enforcement tools and other techniques.

U.S. law enforcement sources report that casinos, currency exchange houses, real estate companies and banks are used in Croatia to launder funds. Monetary instruments involved include cash, bank drafts, travelers checks, credit cards, wire transfers, and letters of credit. Croatian banks have been used to launder funds from foreign sources, such as funds transferred from Russian to Croatian banks.

In September 1999, Croatia underwent a mutual evaluation, conducted by the Council of Europe's PC-R-EV. At the request of Croatian authorities, the U.S. Government supported Croatian participation in a regional 1998 conference on FIU development and scheduled training on operating an FIU. With an improvement in capabilities, Croatia will be in a favorable position to contribute to the international anti-money laundering effort.

Cuba (Other). Cuba is not an international financial center and there is no evidence of significant money laundering. The Cuban peso is not accepted outside Cuba. The Cuban government controls all Cuban banks. However, Cuban government officials have expressed concern about the potential for money laundering. Cuba's National Assembly passed legislation criminalizing money laundering in February 1999. The law makes it a crime for anyone who knows, or is in a position to know, that goods or proceeds are derived from criminal activities, to seek to hide the true ownership, nature, origin or location. The long-awaited law stipulates that persons found guilty of laundering money acquired illegally through the sale of drugs, arms, or persons are subject to penalties ranging from five to twelve years in jail. Persons entering Cuba are required to declare the amount of currency they bring into or out of the country. The Cuban Central Bank has issued guidelines encouraging banks to "know their customers", to investigate unusual transactions, and to ask bank customers to declare the source of funds for any transaction greater than $10,000.

The Cuban government retains all property seized for, or suspected of being linked to, narcotics trafficking. There were no published reports of asset forfeitures in 1999.

Cuba has solicited assistance in combating money laundering from numerous countries. France and Spain are likely to be the first countries to start cooperation and training programs with Cuba.

Cuba became a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention in 1996.

Cyprus (Primary). Cyprus is a major regional financial and tourist center, and as such remains vulnerable to money laundering activity. Cypriot officials state that burglary, theft, fraud and drug trafficking are the major sources of proceeds to be laundered. Other financial crimes that present major problems include credit card fraud, the use of stolen or fraudulent cards, and the manipulation of data from stolen credit or ATM cards. Nigerians have also attempted to carry out their advanced-fee fraud in Cyprus. It is possible that money launderers use the legitimate facilities of Cyprus to further their activities in other countries.

Cyprus has taken strong and concrete steps to upgrade its anti-money laundering regime. Its seminal 1996 anti-money laundering law (The Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering Activities Law) criminalized non-drug-related money laundering; provided for the confiscation of proceeds from all serious crime; codified actions which banks and financial institutions must take, including customer identification; and mandated the establishment of a financial intelligence unit (FIU). (An earlier law had criminalized drug-related money laundering). A 1998 amendment to the 1996 law extended the list of predicate offenses (to include trafficking in women, terrorism, trafficking in human organs, attempted murder, and nuclear proliferation), addressed the topic of corruption in government, and facilitated the exchange of financial information with other FIUs and the sharing of assets with other governments. A 1999 law criminalized the counterfeiting of bank instruments, certificates of deposit, and notes.

Cyprus established its FIU (the Unit for Combating Money Laundering) in January 1997 to receive and investigate suspicious transactions. The 14-member Unit is comprised of representatives from the Attorney General's Office, Customs, and Police, as well as support staff. Its statutory authority directs it to evaluate evidence generated by the Unit member organizations and from elsewhere to determine if investigation is necessary. Since its inception, the Unit has investigated over 237 suspected cases of money laundering (half referred by other governments). During the period January 1997-December 1999, the unit obtained 13 court orders to freeze bank accounts and other assets for a total of over $15 million, as well as 166 disclosure orders. There have been two money laundering convictions in Cyprus since 1997, and three cases are coming to trial. In a highly-publicized case, the former Bishop of Limassol was charged by Cypriot authorities with conspiring to defraud a British-based investor of $3.7, a crime that also involved the laundering of assets.

The Unit also conducts anti-money laundering training for Cypriot police, bankers, accountants, and other financial professionals.

Cyprus made further progress in 1999 in the fight against money laundering. Authorities froze assets totaling $2 million in the course of the year. The Central Bank issued a comprehensive handbook of its guidance notes to commercial banks, and conducted a special examination of each bank's know-your-customer policy in March and April.

Cyprus restricts the percentage of foreign ownership of property, and places controls on the transportation of currency and bullion. Cypriot law requires that all cash entering or leaving Cyprus in the amount of $1,000 or more must be declared, and any such declarations over $10,000 are sent to the Investigations Section of Cypriot Customs. In connection with its hoped-for EU accession, the Government of Cyprus (GOC) supports liberalization of the financial system, including lifting the cap on interest rates and removing restrictions on capital controls. All banks and financial institutions (as well as the insurance industry, stock exchange, cooperative banks, lawyers, accountants and other financial intermediaries) must report suspicious transactions to the Unit for Combating Money Laundering. Banking institutions must report to the central bank all cash deposits over $10,000. A declaration form must accompany all foreign currency deposits. In 1998, the central bank instructed banks and financial institutions to pay special attention to all complex, unusual large transactions, and to report electronic funds transfers in excess of $500,000 per month for a single customer. There are no statistics available on compliance with these regulations.

Cyprus's offshore sector consists of 34 banks, 100 financial services companies, seven management companies of collective investment schemes, and 15 offshore trustee companies. The central bank has in place a strict regulatory framework aimed at preventing abuses, and offshore banks are required to adhere to the same legal, administrative and reporting requirements as domestic banks. The central bank states that prospective offshore banks face a detailed vetting procedure to ensure that only banks from jurisdictions with proper supervision will be allowed to operate in Cyprus. Offshore banks must have a physical presence and not be brass plate operations. Once they are registered in Cyprus, they are subject to a yearly onsite inspection by the central bank. Offshore banks are generally restricted to foreign currency business outside Cyprus, although they may accept deposits and make loans in foreign currency to residents if the resident has obtained an exchange control permit from the central bank.

There are nearly 41,000 international business corporations (IBCs) registered in Cyprus, but the central bank stated in June 1999 that more than half of these are dormant. Only 12,000-14,000 are active, and only 1,057 employ any staff on the island, i.e., have a physical presence. According to post reporting, Russian IBCs constitute a "significant" fraction of the total. Beneficial ownership is permitted, but a list of the names of the beneficial owners is maintained at the central bank. The central bank needs to continue to upgrade its capabilities for tracking beneficial ownership. The names of beneficial owners may be released to law enforcement under a court order. Bearer shares are not permitted, and IBCs must file annual reports. The popularity of the offshore sector can be explained at least partly by the fact that Cyprus has dual-tax treaties with 26 nations, including Russia. Profits of Cypriot offshores are taxed at a rate of only 4.25 per cent, there is no tax on dividends, and foreign employees of the offshores pay only half the normal Cypriot income tax rate. IBCs may keep freely transferable currency accounts both abroad and in Cyprus. If the IBC is registered as an offshore partnership, the partnership profits are tax-free

Cyprus is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. It is a member of the Egmont Group of FIUs and the Council of Europe's PC-R-EV. It is also an active member of the OGBS. In November 1999, the GOC hosted a money laundering seminar conducted by a multi-agency U.S. Government team. The seminar focused on Russian Organized Crime, "cybercrime" (such as Internet gaming and credit card fraud), and investigative methods.

In light of the GOC's stated and commendable dedication to combating money laundering, the central bank needs to continue to focus on meeting the increasing supervisory challenges of the offshore sector and on increasing its transparency. In particular, it should ensure that law enforcement has easy access to the names of beneficial owners of IBCs. In addition, commercial banks, when confronted with questionable deposits, must aggressively report such transactions instead of merely turning them away, as is sometimes the case now. They must also overcome any reluctance to share information with the central bank.

[Cyprus has been divided since the Turkish military intervention of 1974, following a coup d'etat directed from Greece. Since that year, the southern part of the country has been under the control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus. The Northern part is ruled by a Turkish Cypriot administration that in 1983 proclaimed itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus". The U.S. Government recognizes only the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.]

The "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", which is recognized only by (and receives massive cash infusions from) Turkey, is at risk for money laundering because of the presence of a network of 24 essentially unregulated casinos, as well as suspected narcotic links with Turkey. There is also a small offshore sector comprising 40 banks and 12 international business companies. Turkish Cypriot officials believe that any money laundering that takes place most likely does so in the casinos, through such traditional methods as buying chips and never playing them, or customers "playing" each other in rigged games. Drugs are a major source of illegal proceeds, and cash smuggling is also a problem.

A new anti-money laundering law, based on EU norms and on U.S. anti-money laundering statutes, was enacted in November 1999. Under the new law, banks, financial institutions and foreign exchange dealers must report all cash transactions over $20,000 and suspicious transactions in any amount. They are to be on the lookout for structuring and to maintain records for 12 years. The law contains a safe harbor provision. Banks must follow a know-your-customer policy and require customer identification. The suspicious transaction reports will be filed with a central multi-agency committee that apparently will function as an FIU and have investigative powers.

Turkish Cypriot banking authorities work closely with the Central Bank of Turkey-the local currency is the Turkish lire, and interest rates are pegged to those in Turkey. These authorities receive reports on all cash transfers in or out of the area, as well as all transfers over $100,000. They supervise and audit (on a yearly basis) the 35 domestic banks in operation. However, the small (8 people) auditing staff is insufficiently trained.

The 40 Turkish Cypriot offshore banks may not deal in cash, only in fund transfers, and may not conduct business with residents. They are not audited and their records are not publicly available. Offshore banks are not subject to the new anti-money laundering law, but a draft bill in the pipeline will reportedly restrict the issuing of offshore licenses to those banks already having licenses in an OECD country.

The new anti-money laundering law is too recent for an evaluation of its effectiveness. In the interim, Turkish Cypriot officials need to set up a system of regulation for the casinos and obtain intensive training for bank examiners. They should also develop a prudent supervisory regime for its offshore sector.

Czech Republic (Concern). Due to a combination of economic and geographic factors, the Czech Republic has become a location for transnational crime. This is especially true for narcotics trafficking, originating mainly from the Balkan region but also from the Middle East, South Asia and South America. Besides narcotics trafficking, other sources of illegal proceeds include smuggling, auto theft, arms trafficking, financial fraud related to tax evasion, tax fraud, embezzlement, racketeering, prostitution, and trafficking in illegal aliens. The Czech Republic remains a predominately cash intensive economy, and the continued availability of anonymous savings accounts in the form of bearer passbooks may be a vehicle for money laundering. Financial institutions used to launder proceeds include banks and non-bank financial institutions such as currency exchanges, casinos, other gaming establishments, investment companies, and real estate agencies. Monetary instruments used to launder proceeds include cash, bank drafts, and stocks and bonds. Domestic and foreign organized crime groups play a major role in money laundering activities.

The Czech Republic's anti-money laundering legislation, Act N�61/1996 Concerning Some Measures Against Legalization of Proceeds of Criminal Activity and Amending Legislation Thereto, became effective on July 1, 1996. Money laundering was criminalized by the addition of Articles 251 and 251a to the Czech Criminal Code on September 1, 1995. The criminal provisions apply to all proceeds derived from all serious crimes. The Czech Government, recognizing deficiencies in the law, submitted to Parliament in November 1999 a package of legislative amendments that would, among other things, eliminate bearer accounts, extend access to tax records, and increase prison sentences for money laundering convictions. The legislative amendments are expected to pass by year-end 2000. They are designed to meet EU standards and requirements for FATF membership, for which the Czech Republic applied in October 1998.

The anti-money laundering law provides for a definition of money laundering, the types of transactions and financial institutions covered by the law, customer identification, recordkeeping requirements, unusual disclosure (suspicious transaction) reporting, a financial intelligence unit, and the establishment of internal rules for financial institutions to implement an anti-money laundering program.

The Financial Analysis Unit (FAU) of the Ministry of Finance is the organization having jurisdictional responsibility for money laundering violations. It serves as the Czech Republic's financial intelligence unit (FIU). Provisions for this unit were made in the Czech Republic's anti-money laundering legislation. Ministry of Finance Decree N�183 formally established the FAU. The decree specifically outlines how financial institutions are to comply with requirements for reporting unusual transactions to the FAU.

According to the Czech anti-money laundering law, a financial institution reporting an unusual transaction may not effect the client transaction earlier than 24 hours after receipt by the FAU of the disclosure. If the FAU requires a longer period of time to analyze the unusual transaction, it may instruct the financial institution to delay the transaction of a period of up to 72 hours after receipt of the disclosure by the FAU. The FAU must inform the financial institution within this 72 hour time frame if it intends to file a complaint with the General Prosecutor's Office, and if so, the financial institution must wait an additional 72 hours for instructions from the prosecuting authorities as to the disposition of the assets relative to the transaction. The financial institution may effect the transaction after 72 hours if it receives no further instructions from the FAU. The Czech unusual transactions reporting system does not preclude banks from contacting the criminal police if there is a strong indication of criminal violation.

The Czech Republic participates in the Council of Europe's PC-R-EV, and the FAU is a member of the Egmont Group.

The Czech Republic and the United States signed an MLAT in December 1998 that was ratified by the U.S. Senate in January 1999, and by the Czech Parliament in November 1999.

The Czech Republic has established a good legislative basis for anti-money laundering in a relatively short time. As its money laundering regime was implemented, areas for improvement were recognized by Czech authorities, who are completing the corrective legislation.

Denmark (Other). Although Denmark is a major financial center, money laundering is not considered to be a significant problem. Danish banking procedures are transparent and are subject to government review and high taxation, both of which discourage prospective money launderers and minimize improper use of the banking system. Laws enacted in 1993 require banks and other financial institutions to record and report the identities of customers engaging in large or suspicious cash transactions. These records must be maintained and made available to appropriate government authorities.

Danish law includes asset seizure and forfeiture provisions; however, this legislation applies to drug-related criminal cases only and there are no civil forfeiture provisions. Danish law limits asset forfeiture to the proceeds of a crime, and to instruments of crime such as vehicles for transporting drugs. Farms used for drug crop cultivation typically are not subject to forfeiture. Forfeited assets may not be used by law enforcement agencies, nor can Denmark share assets internationally. There were no significant asset seizures in 1999.

Denmark is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. It enacted laws in 1993 to implement the EC Directive on Measures to Prevent the use of the Financial System for Money Laundering. Denmark is a member of the FATF and the Council of Europe. Its financial intelligence unit (FIU) participates in the Egmont Group of FIUs.

Dominica (Primary). Like other eastern Caribbean countries, Dominica has sought to compete in the market for financial services. In addition to offering the traditional offshore services with promises of confidentiality, low fees, and little government supervision, Dominica has also increased the number of economic citizenships granted. As a result, Dominica is increasingly attractive to international criminals and money launderers.

Dominica has greatly expanded its offshore services in the past several years, with the Offshore Banking Act 1996, the International Business Companies Act 1996, and the Exempt Insurance Act 1997. The International Exempt Trust Act 1997 allows establishment of Asset Protection Trusts that restrict seizure, expropriation or confiscation of assets by foreign authorities. The government offers Internet gaming and rapid processing of Internet gaming license applications, and is considering an Open Ship's Registry and Free Port legislation, which would establish individual tax-free locations, such as an office or building. A government-sponsored web-site advertises "asset security and protection from seizure" and "total anonymity and confidentiality." Companies can be registered on-line, and bearer shares are available. These advertisements appear to attract business, as government figures in 1999 showed an expansion of the offshore sector and indicated at least $3.5 million in revenue in 1998. The Ministry of Finance reported it had incorporated 5,800 international business companies (up from 4,600 last year), 6 offshore banks (up from 5), and 20 Internet gaming companies (up from 5). The Exempt Trust Act came into effect in 1999, and one company and six trusts were registered. The International Business Unit of the Ministry of Finance screens applications for offshore banks, but oversight of banks and businesses is minimal.

Dominica also offers economic citizenship, a phenomenon in the offshore market that has caused increasing suspicion from international law enforcement. In return for a $50,000 direct payment, or $75,000 in government bonds, applicants acquire citizenship, a passport, and possibly a new name. The process for obtaining economic citizenship in Dominica remains very loosely regulated, and Dominican officials apparently do not maintain proper control over the program. Between 200 and 300 Russians reportedly purchased citizenship by 1998, increasing suspicions of Russian money laundering activities on the island. As a result of the negative publicity this has aroused, Dominican officials claim they have stopped granting citizenships to Russians, but a review of the most recent gazettes indicates otherwise. The press reported that Dominica sold a citizenship to Australian fugitive Christopher Skase, who is charged in Australia with financial crimes. Dominica claims to have officially about 1,000 economic citizens, with fewer than 100 actually living on the island. Most of those who live in Dominica are from China and Taiwan, and the program has also come under fire as a method for Chinese or other foreign nationals to become Dominican citizens and then to enter Canada and, ultimately, the United States, without visas. Currently Canada does not require visas for Dominican citizens, as both are members of the Commonwealth, but it is considering imposing visa requirements for countries with such schemes.

Dominica is a member of the CFATF, and underwent a CFATF mutual evaluation from 12-16 April 1999.

Dominica has criminalized money laundering and placed controls on the export of money. It requires banks to report unusual foreign exchange transactions. The United States ratified the Dominica-U.S. MLAT in January 1999. The new Government of Dominica, which came into power after an election on January 31, 2000, has indicated its interest in expeditiously bringing the treaties into force.

The rapid expansion of the offshore sector without proper supervision makes Dominica fertile ground for money laundering and other financial crimes. The government of Dominica needs to enact and enforce comprehensive anti-money laundering measures, including strict regulation of the economic citizenship program, to protect the country and its financial sector from the risk of abuse by international criminals.

Dominican Republic (Primary). The Dominican Republic is a burgeoning commercial exporter, and remittances from Dominicans abroad reached $1.4 billion in 1999. Opportunities abound for the smuggling of drugs and the laundering of money. The main source of foreign exchange is dollars generated by the tourism industry, free zone companies and remittances from Dominicans living in the United States. Cash obtained from the illegal drug trade is brought into the Dominican Republic utilizing these sectors to facilitate money laundering. The Dominican Republic has financial institutions which engage in currency transactions involving international narcotics proceeds that include significant amounts of U.S. dollars. The Government of the Dominican Republic (GODR) is cognizant of the problem but still lacks a coordinated strategy to effectively combat money laundering.

In 1995, the Dominican Republic enacted drug money laundering and forfeiture laws based on the OAS/CICAD Model Regulations on money laundering. These laws provide for both domestic remedies and international cooperation. The law also requires financial institutions to establish "know your client" programs and to report suspicious and large currency transactions to the bank superintendent's office. The law gives the superintendent's office broad supervisory and information-gathering authority over all financial institutions in the country, including exchange houses and remittance institutions. A financial intelligence unit receives and analyzes the suspicious activity reports filed by the financial institutions; however, further efforts need to be directed at the quality of the analysis and the unit's timely sharing of information with the National Drug Control Directorate (DNCD).

The DNCD has responsibility for investigating narcotics-related money laundering and has authority to request the cooperation of all other government departments. It has established an operating financial investigative unit. The DNCD aggressively pursues and arrests individuals involved in the financing of illegal activities and the sale and transport of illegal substances.

In 1995, the GODR also enacted comprehensive forfeiture laws for narcotics offenses and narcotics-related money laundering. These provisions, based on the OAS/CICAD Model Regulations, provide for preventative seizures, criminal forfeiture of drug-related assets, and international cooperation in forfeiture cases. The law also permits provisional use of seized assets pending forfeiture, which can create opportunities for abuse. In 1999, Dominican authorities confiscated $94,687 in U.S. currency, Dominican currency worth approximately $1,926,852 and 353 vehicles worth approximately $4.5 million, as well as 33 residential and business properties linked to narcotics-related crimes. The Dominican National Drug Council now holds seized assets in excess of $40 million but has no mechanism to manage the divestment of the assets. Dominican authorities provided assistance to U.S. law enforcement's 1997 seizure and 1999 forfeiture of three aircraft related to the narcotics trafficking of Luis Cano.

With the assistance of the United States, the GODR is currently working on a new draft law that would criminalize money laundering related to other serious crime and institute substantial reforms to its asset forfeiture procedures. The draft legislation is tentatively scheduled for congressional debate in early 2000.

The GODR is a member of the CFATF and underwent a CFATF mutual evaluation in 1997.

In order to meet international anti-money laundering standards, the GODR needs to enact and fully implement an enhanced money laundering law as soon as possible.

Ecuador (Concern). During 1999, Ecuador suffered a major financial and economic crisis when most of its principal banks collapsed and required Government intervention. At the end of 1999, the Government controlled 75 percent of the country's banking sector, capital flight was widespread to the extent that savings accounts were frozen to control further capital flight, and the national currency was sharply devalued. This precarious economic situation reduced the attractiveness of Ecuador as a site for money laundering, particularly through the banking sector. However, due to Ecuador's proximity to drug-producing countries such as Colombia and Peru, some narcotics-related money laundering may be taking place, primarily through the real estate market.

Because the Government of Ecuador (GOE) was focusing its efforts on the severe financial and economic crisis, it carried out almost no investigations of money laundering during 1999, and introduced no new legislative or regulatory mechanisms. Ecuador's current anti-money laundering program continues to be ineffective despite the fact that narcotics-related money laundering is illegal under the 1990 Narcotics Law (No. 108), there are recordkeeping and reporting requirements on suspicious financial transactions and those over $10,000 (in cash or stock), and two operational financial investigations units exist. A series of conflicting statutes severely limits information sharing among the various GOE agencies with jurisdiction over money laundering matters. For example, the Bank Secrecy Law limits the information that a financial institution can directly provide to the police during a money laundering investigation. The Banking Procedures Law restricts information sharing on private accounts to the Superintendency of Banks, and the Criminal Defamation Law imposes sanctions on banks and other financial institutions that provide information on accounts to police or advise the police of suspicious transactions. This results in banks and financial institutions generally refusing to honor requests for financial information (through court orders) from the National Police, claiming that they are answerable only to the Superintendent of Banks. In turn, the Superintendent of Banks will not accept requests for information directly from the police, but responds to such requests only if they come from the National Drug Council (CONSEP).

The National Police operate a financial investigations unit that has received added personnel and DEA-sponsored financial investigations training. The CONSEP also has a financial unit, and the Superintendent of Banks is considering establishing one. In 1994, the GOE and the United States entered into an asset sharing agreement that allows each country to share assets seized from narco-traffickers. During December 1999, the CONSEP convened meetings to begin interagency consideration of a major reform to the Drug Law (108) that would criminalize money laundering as a stand alone crime, as well as establish procedures for the authorization of investigative techniques such as controlled deliveries, undercover operations and wiretapping.

The GOE has achieved some progress in combating corruption and enhancing the judicial system. The 1990 Narcotics Law contains provisions for prosecution of any GOE official, including judges, who deliberately impedes the prosecution of anyone charged under this Law. In collaboration with the United States, the Chief Prosecutor's Office has agreed to establish a special task force to work with the police in pursuit of corruption cases. In November 1999, the National Judicial Council fired two judges who prematurely released from custody two suspected drug traffickers, and has began investigations on other court employees involved in the case. In November 1999, the Ecuadorian Congress enacted a new Code of Criminal Procedure that is intended to fundamentally change Ecuador's criminal justice system from an inquisitorial to an accusatorial-style system. It gives powers to the Fiscalia to investigate and prosecute crimes, and changes the role of judges to that of neutral arbiters presiding over oral trials.

The GOE should finally clarify the existing legislative framework that continues to hinder the effective exchange of financial information for use in criminal investigations. Once it has resolved these legal conflicts, the GOE should consider establishing a joint task force, with participation by the financial investigative units already existent within the National Police and the CONSEP, that would conduct joint investigations and foster better interagency working relationships.

Egypt (Concern). Egypt is not considered a major financial center, and although it has bank secrecy laws, it is not an offshore center or a tax haven. There are no customer identification requirements for financial institutions in force, or any other type of anti-money laundering obligations. Presidential Decree Law No. 205 of 1990 concerning the Secrecy of Bank Accounts states that "all accounts, deposits, trusts and safes" in banks are to be "maintained secret". No access is allowed, nor is any information to be divulged, except with the written permission of the owner or his agent. Such a prohibition is in force even if the relationship between the client and bank is terminated. Names of account owners are anonymous-known only to bank officials. The only exception to bank secrecy is when felonies or misdemeanors are involved, in which case the Egyptian Attorney General may seek from the Cairo Court of Appeal access to account information, provided there is "serious" proof of such an offense. The Egyptian Anti-Narcotics General Authority (ANGA), which maintains a unit specifically charged with investigating financial crimes related to narcotics trafficking, states that bank authorities cooperate fully with law enforcement once a court order is obtained, and that banks maintain records adequate for a thorough investigation.

There is no significant black market in Egypt. About 70 per cent of money laundering is believed to be generated by drug trafficking and the rest by organized crime and terrorism. Narcotics-related money laundering usually takes the form of investment in real estate or business ventures. In a typical scheme, a money launderer will invest through a middleman (usually a relative or a trusted friend.) Money launderers rarely use the Egyptian banking system, partly due to a cultural mistrust of banks and partly due to fears that banking records (despite the bank secrecy law) would provide Egyptian authorities with readily available investigative tools.

An anti-money laundering law is pending in the Egyptian Parliament. In the interim, prosecutors are making use of a 1971 law that targets those who make money through any illegal activity ("The Law of the Socialist Prosecutor"). This law allows prosecutors to impound for up to five years the cash and property belonging to a criminal and his immediate family. The highest Egyptian criminal court, the Court of Ethics, then determines whether the impounded property was obtained as a result of illegal activity and therefore forfeit. Seized assets go directly to the Egyptian treasury. A bill is pending in Parliament under which a portion of the assets seized in narcotics cases would go to ANGA for operational use. The ANGA unit which investigates the financial aspects of narcotics trafficking will have responsibility for enforcing the anti-money laundering legislation if and when it is enacted.

In order to protect its economy from financial crime, Egypt should move swiftly to pass its draft anti-money laundering law and to issue the necessary complementary financial regulations for its financial institutions.

El Salvador (Concern). The Salvadoran banking system remains one of the largest in the region, and maintains important financial contacts with neighboring countries, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the United States. The growth of El Salvador's financial sector, its stable currency and an increase in narcotics trafficking activity in the region continue to make the country fertile ground for money laundering. Throughout 1998 and 1999, the government of El Salvador has continued to demonstrate its commitment to fight this threat.

The El Salvadoran Government took a significant step forward with the passage of the comprehensive "Law against Laundering of Money and Assets (Decree No. 498)" in December 1998 and the adoption of implementing regulations in January 2000. After a financial scandal in 1997 exposed weaknesses in the banking system, the government and financial sectors agreed on the need for new legislation and worked with U.S. officials to develop a comprehensive money laundering bill. During bilateral law enforcement discussions in August 1999, the U. S. Government praised the government's initiative.

The new law applies to a wide range of financial institutions, including banks, exchange companies, stock exchanges, insurance companies, credit card companies, casinos and real estate transactions. It criminalizes money laundering related to drug trafficking or any other criminal activity. It requires these institutions to identify their customers, maintain records for five years, train their personnel in money and asset laundering, and establish internal auditing procedures. They must also report suspicious transactions and transactions exceeding $57,000 to the Salvadoran financial investigations unit, also established in the law. The new unit will be housed within the Attorney General's office and will analyze these financial disclosures and investigate alleged money laundering violations. The law also lifts bank secrecy for money laundering investigations and contains penal sanctions, fines, and asset forfeiture provisions.

Throughout 1999, the GOES continued to work with the banking sector and U.S. Treasury officials to implement the new law and establish the financial investigations unit. The new Attorney General designated office space for the investigations unit and named a person to head the unit, which will consist of prosecutors, investigators, analysts and support staff. There are plans to expand the unit once it is fully operational. The unit staff recently visited similar units in Costa Rica and Mexico for initial training and organizational ideas. The U.S. Government has provided funding for computer and office equipment, and initial training programs for Salvadoran analysts, bankers, and investigators.

In a complimentary move, in January 2000 the National Civilian Police announced the creation of a specialized police unit to work in conjunction with the financial investigations unit. Officers drawn from the anti-narcotics, financial and criminal investigations divisions will staff the new police unit.

El Salvador is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The government has expressed interest in having its financial investigations unit join the Egmont Group.

Estonia (Other). Estonia has the strongest, most developed banking system of the Baltic states; however, it has had a money laundering problem since the early 1990s. Estonian financial institutions have been linked to the laundering of questionable foreign funds, especially from Russia and other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Estonia is a significant Russian trading partner, but much of the "trade" may be only a shell for the movement of funds. Corruption is a problem at the local level.

Banks may participate in other financial activities such as leasing, insurance and brokerage.

Estonia's new law against money laundering came into effect in July 1999. Under the new law, Estonian banks are now required to notify the government of cash deposits or withdrawals in excess of about $7,500 ($15,000 for non-cash transactions). However, Estonia's central bank only recently established a unit to act as a repository for this information. Criminal proceedings have been instigated in only one case of suspected money laundering. Nonetheless, the recent consolidation of the banking sector, and the takeover of Estonian banks by other European banking interests (mainly Swedish), give rise to hopes that the Estonian money laundering law will soon begin to operate effectively.

The Estonian police have established a money laundering department composed of a commissioner, two officers and a banking specialist.

Estonia is a June 1999 signatory of the Council of Europe's (COE) Strasbourg Convention. It is a member of the COE's PC-R-EV; field work on a mutual evaluation took place in January 2000. Estonia is not a party to the 1998 UN Drug Convention. Estonia has received U.S. anti-money laundering training, including courses offered in a Baltic regional context.

Ethiopia (Other). Ethiopia is not a significant threat with regard to money laundering and other financial crimes. Its lack of economic development makes Ethiopia unlikely to become a financial center or a haven for money launderers in the near future. Moreover, the government-owned commercial bank is the largest in Ethiopia. Although there are seven private banking companies, foreign investment in the banking sector is prohibited. Therefore, links to the international financial community, a preferred condition for attracting money launderers to a country, do not exist.

Ethiopia currently does not have money laundering or asset forfeiture legislation. Ethiopia is, however, a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Fiji (Other). There has been little information on money laundering cases in Fiji over the past few years. However, press reports indicate the possible involvement of Nigerian nationals in Fiji-based money laundering. In March 1999, Pacnews reported that the Fiji Police uncovered a financial crime whereby clients would receive a kit to print "perfect" $100 U.S. noted after sending money to an offshore bank account.

Responding to FATF concerns about Pacific Islands and their vulnerability to money laundering, the Fiji Reserve Bank has taken steps to prevent money laundering that should make Fiji less likely to be used as a money laundering site. The Fijian Reserve Bank has drawn up guidelines for licensed financial institutions to counter money laundering, effective July 1, 2000. The policy requires financial institutions to identify the ownership of all accounts. The Reserve Bank can inform the police commissioner of any suspicions of money laundering which result from on-site examinations. The police commissioner and director of public prosecutions are responsible for offenses under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The press reports that penalties for money laundering are a $120,000 fine or 20-year imprisonment for an individual, and a $6,000,000 fine for a corporation.

Fiji is a member of the Asia /Pacific Group on Money Laundering.

Finland (Other). Finland is neither a major money laundering country, a major financial center nor a tax haven. According to Finnish authorities, in 1999 they investigated even fewer narcotics-related money laundering cases than the ten minor ones investigated in 1998. In recent years, Finnish authorities continue to express concern about possible money laundering by Russian organized crime, as well as money laundering arising from fraud (including tax fraud) and other economic crimes. The money laundering provision in the Finnish Penal code covers the proceeds of all crimes, and there are no thresholds for predicate offenses.

The 1998 Act on Preventing and Clearing Money Laundering established a Money Laundering Clearing House (MLCH) at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) as the central unit to receive reports on suspicious transactions. The MLCH passes relevant cases to other units of the NBI or to local police for investigation. The Act also extended the suspicious transaction reporting requirement to all credit and financial institutions and to most non-bank financial institutions, including currency exchange offices, betting agencies, casinos, real estate agencies, pawnshops, insurance companies, and investment firms. There is still no plan to extend the Act to accountants or lawyers.

The MLCH serves as Finland's financial intelligence unit and participates in the Egmont Group. Finland is also a member of the FATF and the Council of Europe. Finland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

France (Primary). France is an attractive location for money laundering due to its large economy, strong currency, political stability, central location in Europe, and international financial and transportation connections. Domestic organized crime groups are active in France's major cities, especially in Paris, Lyon, and Marseilles. Organized crime groups from the former Soviet Union also operate in France. France serves as a transit country for the movement and laundering of foreign criminal proceeds, such as narcotics trafficking proceeds sent to France by South American, North African, and Middle Eastern organized crime groups, and questionable proceeds arriving from Central and Eastern European countries. Money laundering methods prevalent in France include the use of bank deposits, foreign currency and gold bullion transactions, corporate transactions, and purchases of real estate, hotels, and works of art. Central and Eastern European money laundering schemes are characterized by exceptionally large transactions and the use of multiple jurisdictions such as the United States, other western European countries, and offshore centers. Organized crime investment in real estate is a problem because of the difficulty in identifying the source of funds.

France criminalized the laundering of proceeds from all crimes with the adoption of the Act N� 93-392 of 13 May 1996, entitled "On the Fight Against Money Laundering, Drug Trafficking and International Cooperation in Respect of Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds of Crime". Prior to passage of this Act, the French Penal Code and the French Customs Code criminalized money laundering as it related to the proceeds of narcotics and other serious crimes. Act N� 93-392 of 13 May 1996 made money laundering in itself a general offense.

France has also enacted numerous pieces of legislation that codify the FATF Forty Recommendations concerning customer identification, record keeping requirements, suspicious transaction reporting, internal anti-money laundering procedures and training for all French financial institutions and non-bank financial institutions.

France has recognized two major problems related to French money laundering prosecutions in general. First, money laundering is treated as a separate offense and French sentencing guidelines are weighted to the higher offense. In a case involving multiple charges that include a predicate crime and money laundering, the defendant would be sentenced based on the predicate crime since the penalty is greater than that for money laundering. The second is that some French courts do not allow for the joint prosecution of money laundering and the predicate offense because the judges consider them the same offense.

In the area of offshore investigations the French identify two major problems. These are the lack of international cooperation with offshore centers and fiscal (tax) secrecy. In order for French authorities to receive judicial assistance from many offshore jurisdictions, they are required to prove that the suspected offense is not tax related.

TRACFIN (Treatment of Information and Action Against Clandestine Financial Circuits) is France's financial intelligence unit (FIU). It was created by a government decree signed into law on 9 May 1990. TRACFIN is a specialized unit that conducts and coordinates, as necessary, investigations and administrative actions to detect perpetrators of crimes related to illegal financial networks, on both national and international levels. The unit is subordinate to the Ministry of the Economy and Budget.

TRACFIN receives and analyzes suspicious transaction reports made by French financial institutions that are subject to the reporting requirements. It therefore operates as a filter between the private financial sector and judicial/prosecutorial authorities. Upon identifying credible indicators of money laundering among the disclosures it receives, TRACFIN may provide such information to the National Public Prosecutor.

TRACFIN deals with the laundering of money derived from narcotics trafficking and organized crime activity. The unit is not an investigative agency; rather, it is an information centralizing unit responsible for receiving disclosures on suspicious financial transactions made by financial institutions and for analyzing the data received.

In accomplishing its mission, TRACFIN has a number of powers. It may block completion of a suspect financial transaction for a period of up to 12 hours. It can require financial institutions to furnish additional information on specific transactions that are deemed suspicious. It can seek additional related information from other sources, to include law enforcement records and government registries, as well as those maintained by foreign official entities. It may transmit credible information on suspect criminal financial activity to the French judicial authorities for further investigation and eventual prosecution.

TRACFIN has in place two coordinators at each of 4,000 banks or financial institutions in France. One of the coordinators is responsible for gathering and forwarding disclosures of suspicious transactions to TRACFIN. These disclosures can be verbal or written. The other coordinator serves as the point of contact for responding to requests for additional information from TRACFIN. Persons or organizations that do not fit the definition "financial institution" under French law-but which are nevertheless subject to the reporting requirement-provide information on suspect financial activity directly to the National Public Prosecutor.

TRACFIN consists of approximately thirty personnel. Civil administrators, operational agents from the Ministry of the Budget (Customs Service and the Public Directorate), a magistrate judge assigned as legal advisor, and a representative of the Public Accounting Directorate are included among this personnel. Operational agents assigned to TRACFIN investigate the specific suspicious disclosures received by the unit. The representative of the Public Accounting Directorate is responsible for maintaining relations with public financial organizations. The secretary-general of TRACFIN is also the Director-General of the French Customs Service.

TRACFIN may exchange information with foreign counterpart agencies that observe the same rules regarding confidentiality of information; it may not, however, pass such information to French agencies that may use the information for police or tax cases.

France is a founding member of the FATF, and TRACFIN is a member of the Egmont Group. France is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. France has implemented the EU Directive on Money Laundering.

France and the United States signed an MLAT in December 1998, but the treaty is not yet in force.

France has a comprehensive anti-money laundering regime that exceeds FATF standards in many areas. French authorities continually make efforts to improve the legislative basis for combating money laundering and to bolster the methods of investigation and the effectiveness of prosecutions.

Georgia (Other). Georgia is not an important regional financial center, and its economy is too small to cover large flows of illicit foreign funds. Commercial banks are small but have the ability to clear and transfer funds electronically. Money laundering schemes are small-scale, used mostly to launder funds generated domestically through illegal activities, most of which are not connected with narcotics. Reportedly, some commercial banks have become involved in laundering funds generated by the smuggling of alcohol and cigarettes, but these proceeds are generally held in dollars outside the banking system. Although corruption is an issue in Georgia, no government official has been publicly linked to money laundering. The National Bank of Georgia plays a growing role in regulating the banking industry.

Money laundering is not specified as a criminal offense under the new Georgian criminal code, due to go into effect in June 2000, but the code will make it a crime to "transform illegal money into legal income" or to conceal the source, location, or owner of property acquired illegally. Violations are punishable by imprisonment. Suspicious transactions do not have to be reported, nor are there legal safeguards protecting banks and other financial institutions which cooperate with law enforcement agencies. There are no known instances of Georgian law enforcement agencies investigating commercial banks or other businesses for possible involvement in money laundering. There are no controls on the amount of money that may be brought into the country. There are no money-laundering controls applied to non-bank financial institutions, which are, in any event, all but non-existent. Most financial transactions in Georgia are conducted in cash.

The Constitutional Court has declared asset forfeiture and seizure legislation to be unconstitutional.

Georgia became a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention in 1998. Apart from a cooperation agreement between the Georgian and Turkish interior ministries, there are no formal mechanisms to exchange counternarcotics information.

USAID provides technical assistance and training to the Georgian tax inspectorate in support of improvements in tax policy and regulation, which could enable the tax inspectorate to identify underreporting of income, including questionable gains from illegal sources.

Germany (Primary). Germany has one of Europe's largest economies and a diverse financial services sector. As such, it is intrinsically vulnerable to money laundering. Russian organized crime, the Italian mafia, and Albanian and Kurdish drug trafficking groups launder money through bank deposits, foreign exchange houses, and investments in small local businesses and real estate.

Germany has several pieces of legislation that address money laundering in accordance with the EU anti-money laundering directive as well as the FATF Forty Recommendations. In 1992, section 261 of the German Penal Code took effect, criminalizing money laundering for narcotics trafficking, fraud, forgery and embezzlement. The Money Laundering Act of 1993 imposes certain requirements on financial institutions. These responsibilities include obtaining customer identification for transactions over $16,000 conducted in cash, securities or precious metals. In addition, suspicious transactions are to be reported to prosecutorial authorities.

Since January 1998, money transmitters have been required to be licensed and are subject to supervision by the Federal Banking Supervisory Office (FBSO). Anti-money laundering guidelines were also issued to these businesses in 1998 including know your customer policies, policies to prevent structuring, and the filing of monthly statistics with the FBSO.

With the development of electronic commerce, the FBSO has taken a pro-active step to its regulation of this industry by requiring customer identification for non-account linked transactions. This requirement became effective in June 1998.

One of Germany's main anti-money laundering units, the Gemeinsame Finanzermittlungsgruppe Geldw�sche - Bundeskriminalamt / Zollkriminalamtmeinsame Finanzmittlunggruppe has participated in the Egmont Group, but is not a financial intelligence unit. Each of Germany's states has its own unit, as German law does not permit the creation of a centralized unit.

Germany participates in the FATF and is a member of the Council of Europe.

Germany's lack of a centralized financial intelligence unit is a significant issue with both the FATF and G7. Germany should be encouraged to resolve this issue as soon as possible through the creation of such a unit.

Ghana (Other). Money laundering occurs in Ghana, but is not considered a major problem as Ghana is not an important financial center. The proceeds laundered stem primarily from the illicit sale of diamonds, gold and narcotics. Non-bank financial institutions, such as foreign exchange bureaus, are suspected conduits for laundering. Churches have also been accused of laundering money. There were no arrests or prosecutions for money laundering in 1999.

Both drug and non-drug related money laundering are criminal offenses in Ghana. However, banks and other financial institutions in Ghana are not required to report the identities of customers engaging in significant, large currency transactions. In cases of suspected narcotics offenses, the Attorney General is given special powers to authorize a police officer to investigate, inspect and take copies of any document held by a public official, bank or a financial institution. The Attorney General may require disclosure of assets sent outside the country, their estimated value, the real owner and sources of income, earnings or assets. Bankers and others are protected in their cooperation with the law enforcement entities. Any amount of currency can be brought into the country provided it is declared to customs when entering the country and also when leaving the country.

Ghana's Narcotics Law provides for the forfeiture of equipment or property used for the commission of an offense, even if no person has been convicted of the offense. The Law has resulted in the forfeiture of approximately $880,000, comprising the assets of a drug baron wanted in the United Kingdom. Cases pending at the end of 1999 included assets valued at over $1 million. Ghana has not enacted laws for sharing seized assets with other governments.

Ghana has bilateral agreements for the exchange of money laundering information with the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil and Italy. Cooperation with U.S. law enforcement agencies has resulted in several arrests for money laundering. The U.S. funded a "Money Laundering and Other Financial Crime" seminar, which was held in September 1999.

Ghana is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Gibraltar (Concern). Gibraltar is a major point of entry for drugs into Europe. The Government of Spain alleges that front companies established in Gibraltar as import-export concerns are actually involved in drug trafficking, as well as money laundering schemes involving Spanish real estate.

Gibraltar has been a Dependent Territory of the United Kingdom since 1713, when Spain ceded it to Britain. The United Kingdom is responsible for its defense and international affairs. The local legislature, the House of Assembly, is responsible for local matters, including taxation and company formation laws.

Under the Drug Offences Ordinance of 1995 and the Criminal Justice Ordinance of 1995, the GOG criminalized the laundering of proceeds derived from all crimes, and introduced the mandatory reporting of unusual financial transactions by banks and other financial entities including: mutual savings entities, insurance companies, financial consultants, postal services, bureaus de changes, attorneys, accountants, financial regulatory agencies, unions, casinos, charities, lotteries, car dealerships, yacht brokers, company formation agents, dealers in gold bullion, charities, and political parties.

In January 1996, the Government of Gibraltar (GOG) established a financial intelligence unit (FIU) - the Government of Gibraltar Co-ordinating Centre for Criminal Intelligence and Drugs (CFID) to receive, analyze and disseminate information on these unusual disclosures. The CFID is comprised mostly of police and customs officers but operates independently of the Police and Customs Authorities. It hopes to join the Egmont Group in the near future.

Gibraltar continues to flourish as a jurisdiction with favorable tax policies and international offshore financial center providing for the formation and use of corporations, banks, trusts and insurance companies. The offshore financial sector makes up the third major component of the economy after tourism and commercial port services. In 1973, when Britain joined the EU, Gibraltar was accepted as an associate member. Gibraltar is determined to capitalize on its participation in the EU to expand its offshore financial sector into EU member nations.

The private limited company with share capital is the most favored offshore corporation in Gibraltar; it has been available since passage of the 1930 Companies Ordinance. A hybrid that issues shares and is limited by guarantee is gaining in acceptance since it allows for anonymity for the beneficiaries of trusts. All companies established in Gibraltar must have a registered office there. Annual general meetings must be held, and an annual return filed with the public registry containing updated information on the directors, shareholders, capital structure, and audited accounts. The beneficial ownership of some non-resident companies (exempt companies and qualifying companies) must be disclosed in confidence to the authorities upon establishment. Details of the directors and shareholders appear on the Public Registry, but the use of nominees in these positions can preserve anonymity.

Under the 1992 Banking Ordinance, the Commissioner of Banking issues both regular and offshore banking licenses. There are four classes of bank licenses offered: Full Class A (entitles the licensee to accept deposits from any person); Limited Class A (authorized to accept deposits from any person, but not meeting the qualifications for a full license); Full Class B (permitted to accept deposits from any person who is not resident in Gibraltar, any holder of a Class A license, or any other person specified by the Governor); and Limited Class B (allowed to accept deposits from non-residents and holders of Class A licenses but more limited in scope to its activities than a full Class B licensee). Of the 29 banks operating, 11 offer only offshore services. Every Gibraltar bank must be managed by at least two Gibraltar residents and keep audited accounts, which are available to the public.

As a result of 1980 amendments made to income tax laws, non residents of Gibraltar are exempted from Gibraltar taxes earned on deposit accounts held in Gibraltar banks, building societies, or in other licensed deposit-taking institutions. Because of this, a properly established and managed Gibraltar company can greatly reduce its tax liability. In October 1979, the United Kingdom removed exchange and remittance controls, making it possible for Gibraltar's financial community to engage in a wide range of activities and offer products such as foreign currency accounts for nonresidents.

As a result of its associate membership in the EU, Gibraltar can now market certain financial services without restriction in other EU member states. Since 1997, insurance companies based in Gibraltar have been able to operate in EU member states without having to register there. Pending legislation would make this possible for banks.

While it has comprehensive legislation in place, Gibraltar needs to remain vigilant of its offshore sector, particularly as it expands into the EU.

Greece (Concern). Both Greek and U.S. officials consider narcotics to be the major source of proceeds that need to be laundered. These proceeds are invested in real property, Greek government bearer bonds on the resale market, stocks, and companies. The illicit cross-border movement of currency and monetary instruments is still a problem, according to Greek authorities. Casinos are attractive to money launderers, primarily for gambling transactions and to a lesser degree for investment transactions. While there are oversight mechanisms in place, Greek law - designed to be attractive to foreign investors - does not have particularly onerous disclosure requirements on sourcing of foreign capital, unless government investment incentives are involved. There are currently five private and two state-owned casinos in Greece. U.S. firms with casino interests comply with applicable U.S. federal and state gaming and licensing laws and regulations.

According to Greek media reports of late 1999, casino gambling and the Greek stock exchange are the current favored venues for laundering funds. Though they are required to be in compliance with tax laws regarding the transfer of foreign exchange, stock market investors are not subject to rigorous background checks on all sources of income when they purchase stocks or bonds. Since there are small transaction fees but no capital gains on stock or bond transactions, it is relatively easy for money launderers to claim that large amounts of funds are the result of shrewd stock trading. A report by the Ministry of Public Order indicated close links between Russian organized crime and money laundering in Greece. The report states that "more than 40 companies operated by Russian interests are engaged in suspicious dealings. . .two of these have been proved to have close links with a Russian criminal organization." Uncorroborated press reports claim that up to $50 billion is laundered each year in Greece, the illicit proceeds of drug trafficking, prostitution, gun rackets, blackmail, and gambling activities by both Russian and Albanian crime syndicates. A Greek Customs official ranked Greece third in Europe (behind Italy and Spain) as a money laundering center.

Greece enacted a comprehensive anti-money laundering law in 1995 ("Prevention and Combating the Legalization of Income Derived from Criminal Activities") that criminalized money laundering from all sources. The law is in full compliance with EU directives on money laundering; the Bank of Greece has the authority to cooperate fully with central banks of the other EU nations in matters relating to money laundering. The law requires that banks and financial institutions file suspicious transaction reports (STRs) with a central authority called the Competent Committee. A supplementary law is under consideration that would extend the STR requirements to casinos.

According to the Greek anti-money laundering law, banks and brokerage firms request identification (internal ID or passport) to open an account and for any transaction over 15,000 euros. The regulations of transfer of foreign exchange require Greek citizens to provide a tax registration number for 1,000 euros exchanges and proof of compliance with tax laws for 10,000 euros exchanges.

Application of the 1995 anti-money laundering law began in earnest with the establishment in 1997 of the eight-member Committee of Article 7 of Law 2331/1995. The Committee functions as Greece's financial intelligence unit (FIU); it is chaired by a senior judge and includes representatives of various government ministries, the central bank, and the Athens Stock Exchange. The unit meets at least once a week to review reports of suspicious transactions filed by financial institutions throughout the country. If the Committee decides an STR merits investigation, it refers the STR to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit (SDOE), a multi-agency group that functions as the investigative arm of the Committee. Should SDOE find evidence of possible criminal violation, it sends the STR back to the Committee, which then prepares the case for the public prosecutor's office. The Committee maintains links with Interpol for assistance in investigations outside Greece. According to post reporting, Greek authorities are investigating several cases of money laundering, but very few have reached the public prosecutor.

The Central Directorate of SDOE is preparing a comprehensive report on money laundering in Greece which will evaluate how the anti-money laundering law is functioning; how well the banking sector complies with STR requirements; practices, techniques and methodologies of money laundering in Greece; and how the Greek experience conforms to international standards.

Greece is a member of the FATF and the Council of Europe. The Committee participates in the Egmont Group of FIUs. Greece is a party to the 1988 UN Convention and is in full compliance with its goals.

To strengthen its anti-money laundering regime, Greece should extend and implement the requirement for STR filing to gaming and stock market transactions, and adopt rigorous standards on casino ownership/investments. Without creating disincentives for legitimate foreign or domestic investors, it should also consider strengthened safeguards to ensure that sources of income for large investments conform to domestic and international legal obligations.

Grenada (Concern). Money laundering and other financial crimes are very real concerns in Grenada due to the government of Grenada's (GOG's) rapid and relatively unsupervised venture into offshore services.

Like other Caribbean jurisdictions, Grenada has sought revenue by competing for offshore dollars, earning almost $3 million from the sector in 1998. In 1996, it passed the Offshore Banking Act 1996, the Offshore Insurance Act 1996, and the Company Management Act 1996. The International Companies Act (Amended 1996) allows bearer shares, and the International Trust Act 1996 allows establishment of asset protection trusts that greatly restrict seizure by foreign authorities. The Minister of Finance reviews applications and issues licenses for offshore banks. The International Betting Act, enacted in 1998, provides for licensing of international gaming and gaming companies. Grenada has issued 30 offshore banking licenses (up from 10 in 1998) and indicated it has incorporated 900 IBCs and six Internet gaming licenses. The Registrar of Offshore Services supervises the sector, but it has too few staff to provide proper supervision.

The Grenada Citizenship Amendment Act of 1997 allows foreign nationals to purchase citizenship for a family of five for approximately $40,000, with no obligation to live on the island. New citizens may also change their names, thereby increasing suspicions that international criminals may take advantage of the program. The GOG claims that proper background checks are made, and the Registrar of Offshore Services and the Director General of Finance must approve applications. To date, Grenada has issued approximately 200 economic citizenships.

In 1999, the GOG took several steps to develop and implement anti-money laundering laws and practices to avoid escalation of financial crimes. It passed legislation to turn the understaffed Offshore Services Registry into a semi-autonomous Financial Services Authority with more personnel, but no implementation has yet taken place. The FSA is still woefully understaffed. It also passed the Money Laundering Prevention Act of 1999, which is not yet in force. The Act criminalizes the laundering of proceeds relating to drugs, or from any other crime that, had it occurred inside Grenada, would have been punishable by at least five years imprisonment under Grenadian law. If convicted, violators face fines of $1 million and/or imprisonment for 27 years. "Tipping off" and aiding and abetting are punishable by a fine of $500,000 and/or 5 years in prison.

The law applies to a wide range of financial institutions, including onshore and offshore banks, money transmitters and exchanges, issuers of credit cards and traveler's checks, insurance businesses and trust businesses. These institutions are required to report suspicious transactions, keep transaction records for at least seven years, comply with any other regulations issued, and permit on-site inspections. The law also creates the Supervisory Authority to receive these financial disclosures; if it finds reasonable grounds that money laundering may have occurred or may occur, it will forward this information to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Supervisory Authority must establish training requirements, may issue guidelines to financial institutions, and may disseminate information outside Grenada. The Ministry of Finance may also issue a code of practice to help institutions comply with the Act.

Individuals who leave Grenada carrying more than $37,000 must make a declaration to the Supervisory Authority. The law also contains asset seizure and forfeiture provisions, exempts good faith compliance from criminal liability, and overrides bank secrecy for money laundering investigations.

In May 1996, the GOG signed mutual legal assistance and extradition treaties with the United States. These treaties entered into force on September 14, 1999.

Grenada is a member of the CFATF, and underwent a CFATF mutual evaluation in November 1999.

With its expanding venture into financial services, the GOG needs to bring the Money Laundering Prevention Act into full force, establish and fully staff and fund the Supervisory Authority, and adequately train its personnel to detect and prosecute money laundering and other financial crimes. The GOG also needs to implement measures to provide more comprehensive regulation of the offshore sector, including the economic citizenship program, to prevent the jurisdiction's becoming a haven for international criminals.

Guatemala (Concern). As a transit point for much of the Colombian drug trade, Guatemala remains a site for money laundering activities. The lack of an anti-money laundering law and weak regulation and supervision of the financial sector continue to allow kidnappers, corrupt public officials and smugglers to use Guatemala as a safe haven for their illicit profits. During the past two years there has been an increase in the number of seizures of large amounts of currency in Guatemala.

The Government of Guatemala (GOG) continues to struggle to enact an effective anti- money laundering law. While the 1992 Narcotics Law includes a provision for investigating and prosecuting illicit transactions and investments, it is limited to investigating business transactions with funds or assets tied to narcotics investigations. There has never been a prosecution under this Law. In December 1997, the Secretariat for the Commission Against Addictions and Illicit Drug Trafficking (SECCATID) drafted a bill to criminalize the laundering of proceeds derived from several serious crimes and to introduce record keeping and currency reporting requirements. Another bill was drafted with in 1998, with U.S. Government participation, but neither one was ever introduced in Congress. In September 1999, the Guatemalan Banking Association presented to SECCATID its version of the bill, which eliminated many of the key anti-money laundering provisions. The banking sector continues to oppose the enactment of a comprehensive anti-money laundering law that would include the mandatory reporting of suspicious financial transactions and the creation of an investigation unit. The banking sector remains reluctant to make financial information available to law enforcement entities, on the grounds that banks are capable of self-policing, and it believes that the enactment of stronger legislation is therefore unnecessary.

The GOG has been very responsive to U.S. requests for extradition of Guatemalan nationals for prosecution on narcotics violations.

The GOG cannot continue to underestimate the negative effects of unchecked and unregulated access to its financial institutions by criminal elements. It needs to work with all appropriate Guatemalan institutions to promptly develop and implement effective anti-money laundering legislation that includes the mandatory reporting of suspicious or unusual financial transactions. Such a program would attract and retain the type of quality institutions that would ensure a sound and safe financial sector. The GOG should also renew its participation in the CFATF.

Guernsey (Primary). The Bailiwick of Guernsey covers a number of the Channel Islands, and encompasses three separate legislative assemblies (Guernsey, Alderney and Sark). Guernsey is a British Crown Dependency,.

Guernsey's highly sophisticated offshore sector is vulnerable to money laundering in the layering and integration stages. Historically, the international banking sector, and company and trust service providers, are areas of risk for money laundering. Use of company directors from Sark, which has no company law, has been a particular vulnerability. Guernsey does plan to license and supervise company and trust service providers and to extend this regulatory regime to Sark and Alderney.

Until the enactment of the Proceeds of Crime Law and Regulations 1999 ("the 1999 Law") there were significant gaps in Guernsey's anti-money laundering system. The Drug Trafficking Offences Law 1988 criminalized drug-related money laundering, while the Prevention of Terrorism law 1990 added terrorist-related activities as a predicate offense. The 1999 Law, which went into effect on January 1, 2000, extends the offense of money laundering to all indictable offenses. Overseas offenses are covered where, had the equivalent conduct occurred in Guernsey, it would have been a predicate offense. There is no exemption for fiscal offenses.

Until the 1999 Law came into force, suspicious transaction reports could be made voluntarily. The 1999 Law does not mandate suspicious transaction reporting; however the law provides an absolute defense for money laundering in cases where suspicious transaction reports were promptly filed. Reports of suspicious activity are made to the Joint Police &Customs Financial Investigation Unit - Guernsey, which serves as the Bailiwick's financial intelligence unit (FIU), and is a member of the Egmont Group. Guernsey is planning new drug trafficking legislation that will make suspicious transaction reporting mandatory for drug money laundering.

Guernsey's offshore sector is controlled by the Financial Services Commission. The majority of Guernsey's offshore activities consist of the formation of exempt companies, which may not conduct business in Jersey but serve primarily as holding companies for concerns operating elsewhere. Exempt companies pay no Guernsey taxes.

The Criminal Justice (Proceeds of Crime) Regulations 1999 apply to a wide range of financial businesses including company and trust service providers and professionals (to the extent they conduct financial business). Guernsey has special arrangements for financial business introduced by certain intermediaries. Under this system, for certain categories of individuals or institutions covered by the Regulations, a financial institution need not know the beneficial owner of funds. This represents a potential gap in Guernsey's system.

Guernsey is not a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Guernsey plans to introduce the necessary legislation to enable it to accede to the Convention.

Guernsey is a member of the OGBS.

Guernsey is developing a comprehensive anti-money laundering regime and has demonstrated the political will to ensure that its financial institutions and services industry is not used to launder money. Guernsey's key to success in preventing its financial sector from being used to launder money will be the force with which it enacts and implements new legislation and regulations.

Guyana (Other). Guyana is not an important financial center or tax haven. Offshore banking is not permitted. Nevertheless, a largely unregulated banking sector, several independent currency exchanges and growing illicit trade in licit goods (particularly gold and diamonds) foster concerns that both narcotics- and non-narcotics-related money laundering take place.

Current Guyanese law makes the Bank of Guyana the sole financial regulator and applies regulations and penalties to all deposit-taking institutions. However, neither banks nor other financial institutions are required to know, record or report the identities of customers engaging in large currency transactions, or to maintain transaction records. Guyanese law requires reporting of funds over $10,000 imported into or exported out of Guyana, but no mechanisms facilitate such reporting.

Despite having finalized draft money laundering legislation in 1998, 1999 saw no discernible progress in passing this legislation. The National Assembly is expected to enact this bill in 2000. The bill criminalizes money laundering related to drug trafficking and other serious crimes, and allows for the expansion of predicate offenses. The bill also establishes suspicious transaction reporting requirements, requires confidentiality in the reporting process, provides a "safe harbor" for good faith reporting, and contains provisions for asset forfeiture, international cooperation and extradition for money laundering. The bill also creates a supervisory authority to receive financial disclosures and supervise financial institutions' activities to detect and prevent money laundering. Nevertheless, the proposed legislation falls short of the FATF recommendations and the amended OAS model regulations on money laundering. Guyana has not signed the CFATF Memorandum of Understanding; it would benefit by doing so and by actively participating in CFATF activities, including undergoing a mutual evaluation.

Guyana is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, but needs to pass and implement a wide range of additional legislation before it will be in compliance with the Convention's goals and objectives.

Haiti (Concern). The Government of Haiti (GOH) has yet to take any concrete steps to fight money laundering. Haiti's institutional infrastructure continues to decline, and drug traffickers are taking advantage of this, further corroding already weak institutions. The young and inexperienced law enforcement system has been unable to effectively combat the rapid increase in drug trafficking, mainly cocaine, through Haiti on its way to the United States. Drug money corrupts police officers, judges, prosecutors, politicians, and financial institutions. Criminals are able to take advantage of the absence of financial regulations and abuse the fragile financial system. Bulk proceeds of cash are smuggled through Haiti, and criminals launder illicit funds through exchange houses, and via wire transfers through banks and money remitters.

Political problems contributed to the lack of progress in 1999. After two years of impasse, President Preval effectively dissolved parliament in January 1999. Disagreements between the government and the private sector have exacerbated the declining economic infrastructure. In 1997 the GOH drafted money laundering legislation which would have criminalized drug money laundering, established procedures for asset seizure and forfeiture, imposed customer identification requirements, and mandated suspicious activity reporting. But in the absence of a parliament and a working government, these measures were never introduced and cannot be considered until a new parliament is convened after elections scheduled for March 2000.

The absence of up-to-date anti-money laundering legislation continues to undermine the efforts of Haitian law enforcement agencies. The GOH needs to update its draft anti-money laundering legislation to criminalize the laundering of proceeds from all serious crimes, especially corruption, and to require cross-border currency declarations. It then needs to act expeditiously to enact the legislation. Once legal measures are in place, the GOH needs to create, train, and equip a centralized financial intelligence unit to coordinate anti-money laundering efforts and work with foreign governments to help protect the Haitian economy from criminal abuse. The GOH should also consider joining the CFATF, which would help provide additional support and coordination in the fight against money laundering.

Honduras (Concern). Although money laundering is believed to be on the increase, Honduras has not developed into a major money laundering center, and it is not an offshore financial center. What laundering takes place is primarily related to narcotics trafficking, followed by auto theft, kidnapping, bank fraud, illegal alien smuggling and corruption. Money laundering takes place in the banking sector, and in currency exchange houses, casinos, and front companies as well.

Honduras' current anti-money laundering program is based on Law No. 27-98 enacted on December 29, 1997. The law criminalized the laundering of narcotics-related proceeds, and introduced customer identification (no anonymous bank accounts permitted), recordkeeping (five years) and transaction reporting requirements for financial institutions, including banks, currency exchange houses, money transmitters and check sellers/cashiers. Casinos, however, are unregulated. Regulated financial institutions are required to report currency transactions over $10,000 and all unusual and/or suspicious financial transactions to the National Banking and Insurance Commission. After analysis of these reports, the Commission forwards those it believes may be linked to narcotics-trafficking activities to the Public Ministry or to the General Prosecutor's Office. Financial institutions in general have complied with the $10,000 currency transaction reporting requirement but have not reported any unusual or suspicious financial transactions, despite the fact that the law includes safe harbor provisions to protect financial institutions and their employees from civil and/or criminal liability when complying with such requirements. There have not been any prosecutions under this 1997 legislation, and mechanisms for the seizure, forfeiture and sharing of assets remain totally inadequate.

To combat corruption, in December 1999 the Government of Honduras approved a new Code of Criminal Procedure, which is in the process of implementation. New legislation was drafted in 1999 that would broaden the definition of money laundering to include the proceeds from any criminal activity. The new law, expected to be presented to the Congress in late February 2000, will also clarify procedures and responsibilities for prosecution of cases.

Honduras is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

The GOH anti-money laundering program remains weak, and efforts need to be expedited to enact the new anti-money laundering law.

Hong Kong (Primary). Hong Kong's status as a major financial center with an open and democratic society makes it attractive to money laundering activities. The combination of low taxes, modern financial services, flexible corporate laws and the absence of foreign exchange controls attract funds from across the globe, including those involving criminal proceeds. Narcotic trafficking is the major source of criminal proceeds laundered in Hong Kong. Organized crime groups based in Hong Kong dominate large portions of the Southeast Asian narcotics trade. Other sources of criminal proceeds include loan sharking, gambling, and financial crimes. Foreign sources of criminal proceeds are likewise sent to Hong Kong for laundering and Hong Kong serves as a major transit point in international money laundering schemes. Organized crime groups from Hong Kong are known to launder money through joint ventures and real estate purchases in China. Financial institutions and alternative remittance systems are the primary vehicles for money laundering. Laundering schemes include the use of bank accounts, shell companies, remittance businesses, and offshore corporations registered in Hong Kong through incorporation services.

A money laundering method widely used in Hong Kong and by ethnic Chinese communities throughout the world is the Chinese alternative remittance system (ARS). After the communist takeover of China, Hong Kong became the primary conduit for remitting funds through the ARS to China. The laundering of criminal proceeds through this system is extremely difficult to detect or prevent. The Chinese ARS can transfer large sums of money efficiently and quickly without leaving financial records tied to the transactions. The paper trail is eliminated by avoiding official reporting requirements to Customs authorities that bulk cash or monetary instruments would attract at the border, and commercial bank reporting requirements that cash or suspicious transactions require. The system is still used for its traditional purpose of conducting legitimate transactions; however, it is also used for tax evasion and as a means to move and launder criminal proceeds.

The Chinese ARS relies on a network of businesses such as jewelry stores, gold shops, travel agencies, money exchangers, finance companies, and import/export companies. At certain stages of the money transfer, the system depends on legitimate banks to balance the accounts of the parties conducting the transaction. No physical transfer of funds takes place; the transaction is merely a credit entry in the sending company's account and a debit entry in the receiving company's account. Even though physical funds are not moved during the transfer of funds using the Chinese ARS, the books must be balanced to reflect the actual exchange of value that the entries in the correspondent accounts represent. To accomplish this, the entities conducting underground transactions would use larger banks to transfer money usually through foreign intermediary banks to settle their accounts.

The advantages of using the ARS include anonymity, speed, price, and convenience. The system is much faster than bank procedures since large currency transactions can be conducted in a matter of hours. Fees are kept low, since the Chinese underground bankers also profit by taking advantage of unofficial currency exchange rates that are more favorable than official exchange rates. ARS uses businesses located within the community where banks may not be present or located at some distance. ARS hours tend to be more flexible than commercial bankers' hours.

Hong Kong criminalized narcotics related money laundering with the adoption of the Drug Trafficking (Recovery of Proceeds) Ordinance (DTROP) 1989. The law was suspended for several years pending the outcome of a court appeal. Both the Hong Kong Police and the Customs and Excise Department enforced the provisions of the DTROP of 1989. They established the Joint Financial Intelligence Unit (JFIU) to coordinate counter-money laundering activities and designated it to receive suspicious transactions related to narcotics. Although the DTROP allowed for reporting of suspicious transactions, the law did not require financial institutions to make such reports.

The criminalization of money laundering was extended to include any indictable offense with the adoption in 1994 of the Organized and Serious Crime Ordinance (OSCO). It was not until 1995 that amendments were made to the DTROP and OSCO to make suspicious transaction reporting mandatory for all financial institutions and non-bank financial institutions. On January 19, 2000, Hong Kong's Legislative Council enacted the Organized and Serious Crimes (Amendment) Bill of 1999, which requires money changers and remittance agents to implement customer identification procedures and to keep records for at least six years for transactions exceeding $2,500. The effective date for the law will be decided later this year.

In addition to the DTROP and OSCO, anti-money laundering measures are contained in the Prevention of Money Laundering Guideline issued by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Guidance Note on the Prevention of Money Laundering issued by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, the Anti-Money Laundering Guidance Notes issued by the Securities and Futures Commission, and the Anti-Money Laundering Guidance Notes issued by the Law Society of Hong Kong. These regulations require the legal entities supervised by the above mentioned agencies to follow the measures and procedures for record keeping, customer identification, and suspicious transactions reporting.

The Joint Financial Intelligence Unit (JFIU), Hong Kong's financial intelligence unit, began to receive all suspicious transaction reports in 1995. The JFIU records and analyzes the suspicious transactions and forwards those indicating criminal activity to the Financial Investigative Groups of the Hong Kong Police and Customs and Excise Department for investigation. The JFIU is able to share information with foreign counterparts for investigative purposes. After investigations are completed, the enforcement agencies provide feedback to the JFIU for annotation in the JFIU database. The JFIU is a member of the Egmont Group.

Money laundering investigations by Hong Kong enforcement authorities have involved offshore corporations registered in Hong Kong. Hong Kong-registered Private Limited Companies provide a level of anonymity that makes them attractive for money laundering. The Companies Ordinance of 1932 with amendments through 1999 is the legislative basis for establishing Private Limited Companies in Hong Kong. The Ordinance does not require the disclosure of beneficial ownership because it permits the use of nominee shareholders, and it is possible to use corporate directors provided by incorporation services run by attorneys and accountants. Hong Kong allows for the marketing of shelf companies. Corporate documents must be written in English but may include Chinese characters. Corporate entities may be listed as officers and shareholders since Hong Kong registered companies have all the legal powers of a natural person. Resident corporate directors are not necessary; however a registered office in Hong Kong is required along with a resident company secretary. The ordinance prohibits bearer shares and allows public access to registers of corporate directors, managers, and members. All Hong Kong registered companies must appoint a certified auditor with membership in the Hong Kong Society of Accountants and are required to keep accounting records at a location selected at the discretion of the directors. Company accounts must be filed with tax authorities but not with the Registrar.

The agreement between Hong Kong and the United States on mutual assistance in criminal matters entered into force in January 2000. Hong Kong is a member of the FATF and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering. Hong Kong has a strong legislative basis to combat money laundering and is expected to enact and implement additional measures to increase suspicious reporting by non-bank financial institutions and to increase the number of prosecutions and convictions. Hong Kong underwent its second mutual evaluation by the FATF in 1998.

Hungary (Primary). Hungary is vulnerable to money laundering for a variety of reasons, including rising crime rates, a strong presence of both domestic and foreign organized crime groups, and Hungary's role as a transit country for narcotics trafficking along the Balkan Route. Hungary also has strict personal data protection laws that significantly hinder the ability of Hungarian authorities to share information on money laundering and other criminal activities with their foreign counterparts. Major sources of criminal proceeds come from narcotics trafficking, smuggling, arms trafficking, auto theft, tax evasion, financial fraud, alien smuggling and racketeering. Hungary is also used as a location for the laundering of foreign criminal proceeds, especially those from countries of the former Soviet Union. The availability of anonymous bearer passbooks may pose a risk for money laundering, although Hungarian officials doubt that they are used as vehicles for money laundering.

Although Hungarian financial institutions are subject to Hungary's anti-money laundering legislation, most cash intensive businesses such as real estate firms are not subject to money laundering controls, and Hungary is still a predominantly cash-based economy. The types of financial institutions used to launder proceeds include banks and non-bank financial institutions such as currency exchanges, casinos, investment companies, and real estate agencies. The types of monetary instruments used to launder proceeds include cash, wire transfers, bank drafts, letters of credit, and stocks and bonds. Front companies and false documents are used to establish elaborate systems to transfer funds and launder money. Hungarian authorities have investigated incidents of front companies located in offshore zones sending fictitious invoices to Hungary for the purpose of justifying the wiring of funds abroad.

Hungary's anti-money laundering legislation, Act XXIV of 1994 on the Prevention and Impeding of Money Laundering, became effective on May 8, 1994. Money laundering was simultaneously criminalized with the amendment of Section 303 "Money Laundering" of the 1978 Hungarian Criminal Code. The criminalization provisions apply to proceeds derived from any crime, including the instrumentalities of money laundering.

Hungary's anti-money laundering law specifies the types of transactions, financial institutions, and employees covered by the law. It also provides for customer identification and the recording of identification data, and sets out requirements for recording and disclosure of suspicious transactions, including exceptions to bank secrecy. The law mandates the establishment of internal rules for existing financial institutions to implement the provisions of the law and makes submission of these internal rules an integral part of the licensing requirements of future financial services institutions. The law also establishes a disclosures unit to receive suspicious transactions reports.

The Anti-Money Laundering Section (AMLS), a sub-department of the Hungarian National Police Headquarters (ORKF), is the central authority for receiving or collecting suspicious transaction reports. The ORFK designated the AMLS to perform this role under the authority granted it by Hungary's anti-money laundering law. Government Decree N�74/1994 (V.10.) outlines the procedures for financial institutions to report suspicious transactions to the AMLS. The obligation to report to the AMLS in no way prohibits financial institutions from reporting obvious criminal incidents directly to the police.

The AMLS is the financial intelligence unit having jurisdictional responsibilities for money laundering violations. It is subordinate to the Economic Crimes Department of the Central Criminal Directorate (KBI), which in turn is subordinate to the National Police Headquarters (ORFK). The ORFK is an organizational component of the Ministry of the Interior, but is neither subordinate nor reports to the Minister of Interior. Provisions for the AMLS were made in Hungary's anti-money laundering legislation and implementing regulations.

According to Section 3, Paragraph 1 of the Hungarian anti-money laundering law, financial institutions must report suspicious transactions immediately to the AMLS. As the central point for receiving suspicious transaction reports, the AMLS registers them and has 30 days to conduct a preliminary investigation. The time period may be extended for just cause. If circumstances warrant an immediate preliminary investigation of a suspicious transaction, an order for action may be issued within a specific time frame-24 hours, 48 hours, or 15 days. While conducting a preliminary investigation, the AMLS may ask for additional information from the financial institution making the initial suspicious transaction report or from other government agencies. It may also request information from foreign counterparts, including customs services and other financial investigative agencies, either directly or through the Hungarian National Central Bureau of Interpol. The anti-money laundering law allows the AMLS to request this information without requiring the prior approval of the Prosecutor's Office. Once the preliminary investigation is completed, the AMLS prepares a summary report about its findings. A criminal investigation is opened by the Investigations Department of the KBI if the findings indicate a strong suspicion of a money laundering offense-if not, then all documents related to the preliminary investigation are archived.

An MLAT between the United States and Hungary entered into force in March 1997. Hungary is a member of the Council of Europe's PC-R-EV. The ORTK is a member of the Egmont Group. In January 2000, the United States and Hungary signed a non-binding information sharing agreement between agencies responsible for law enforcement and transnational issues. This agreement is anticipated to aid in criminal investigations in both countries.

Despite what appears to be a comprehensive anti-money laundering regime in place since 1994, Hungary has initiated only three major investigations for money laundering, none of which has resulted in any convictions. Hungary should examine methods to bolster the effectiveness of its anti-money laundering regime.

Iceland (Other). Iceland is not a financial center, and money laundering is not considered a significant problem. The first apparent instance of money laundering arose in 1999 in connection with a large drug bust, in which for the first time the government is pursuing money laundering charges and moving to seize the assets of those involved.

Iceland first adopted a law against money laundering in 1993 based on the Forty recommendations of the FATF on money laundering. The Trade Ministry issued implementing regulations in 1994, which spelled out in detail the obligation of financial institutions to fully identify customers and to report large deposits and suspicious transactions. Money laundering is considered a crime no matter what the underlying offense, although the punishment can be greater when it is related to drug trafficking. FATF representatives visited Iceland in 1998 to review how the law and regulations were working. Based on their recommendations, the government has submitted a bill to Parliament to strengthen the 1993 law.

Iceland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, as well as the 1990 EU Convention on Money Laundering. Iceland's financial intelligence unit (FIU), the Rikisssaksoknari, participates in the Egmont Group of FIUs.

India (Primary). The money laundering situation in India is complex. There are many sources of illicit funds, including corruption, smuggling, financial fraud, narcotics trafficking, and prostitution. Tax evasion and the financing of terrorist and insurgent groups, issues that are related to money laundering, are also of concern in India. Given India's population and emergence as a regional financial center, Indian money laundering is a growing concern.

The hawala (or hundi) system plays a major role in money laundering in India. Hawala transactions are efficient, cost-effective and private. Licit as well as illicit transactions are conducted through hawala. Hawala is part of the "black" or underground economy in India. Estimates of the size of this economy range from one half to equal in size to the "white" (or "on the books") economy, affording some idea of the magnitude of hawala transactions. Hawala money laundering has been a component of a variety of money laundering schemes for many predicate offenses including corruption, alien smuggling, narcotics trafficking and financial fraud.

At present, India has a wide range of legislation addressing money laundering and other financial crimes. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Chapter XXXIV (sections 451-459) establishes the basic framework for confiscating the proceeds of crime. The Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance of 1944, allows for the attachment of money or property obtained through bribery, corruption, criminal breach of trust or theft, as well as of assets disproportionate to known sources of income by the order of a district judge; section 13 of this Ordinance provides for forfeiture of these assets to the state on conviction.

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985, Amended in 1988, calls for the tracing and forfeiture of property or assets acquired through narcotics trafficking and has provisions that address attempts to transfer or conceal property or assets. In effect, this act criminalizes drug-related money laundering, as called for by the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Section 16 of the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988 provides for forfeiture of the assets disproportionate to known income (presumably from bribes) held by a corrupt public servant convicted under section 13 (i) (e) of this Act. Sections 111 to 127 of the Customs Act of 1962 contain provisions for the confiscation of any money or property that was obtained through violation of any provisions of this Act.

The Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act of 1976 calls for the forfeiture of property acquired through smuggling and illegal foreign exchange transactions. In effect, this Act criminalizes money laundering where smuggling and certain hawala-like transactions are involved.

The Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) is one of India's primary tools for fighting money laundering. Among its objectives are the establishment of controls over foreign exchange, the prevention of capital flight and the maintenance of external solvency. A closely related piece of legislation is the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Act, which provides for preventive detention in smuggling and other matters relating to foreign exchange violations. The FERA (and its successor, the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA)) is enforced by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is part of India's Ministry of Finance; the ED is the organization most often involved in the investigation of hawala cases, as they often involve foreign exchange transactions.

India's anti-money laundering legislation has passed the lower house of Indian Parliament . It was referred to a special committee in the upper house for possible further amendments. This legislation would criminalize money laundering for a wide range of offenses, including white collar crimes, bank fraud, corruption, tax evasion, and narcotics trafficking.

The replacement for the FERA, the FEMA, was enacted in late 1999. This Act contains provisions facilitating continued financial liberalization in India in the area of foreign exchange. As under the FERA, the Reserve Bank of India, India's central bank, would still play an active role in the regulation and supervision of foreign exchange transactions, and hawala transactions would continue to be illegal.

India does not have a financial intelligence unit, and the draft legislation does not call for the formation of one. India does have an organization, the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB), which is India's apex organization for fighting all financial crimes. Other organizations, such as the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Indian Customs and Excise, the Reserve Bank of India and numerous others all make essential contributions to India's anti-money laundering efforts.

In 1999, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), with assistance from FinCEN, initiated efforts to seize funds from U.S. accounts associated with an international alien smuggling ring. In 1998, the Operation Seek and Keep task force (INS, IRS, FinCEN, USPIS, FBI, Customs) halted the operation of this alien smuggling ring, which used hawala to finance its activities. In early 1999, further analysis identified the details of the money transfer routes and, in mid-1999, the seizures were initiated. In addition to cooperation between the U.S. members of the task force, various agencies in India, specifically the CEIB, DRI and CBI, provided essential assistance on many aspects of this case. U.S. and Indian officials are also currently conducting investigations into Indian components of the money laundering associated with the alien smuggling operations.

India does not offer offshore services.

India needs to pass and then implement its draft legislation, in order to protect its financial institutions from money laundering and other financial crimes.

Indonesia (Primary). Indonesia's money laundering problem continues to grow. Strict bank secrecy laws, inadequate legislation, and a strategic geographical location combine to make Indonesia vulnerable to money laundering. Money laundering in Indonesia is believed to be connected with domestic narcotics trafficking, fraud and corruption. Money laundering most likely takes place in Indonesia's traditional financial sector as well as through alternative remittance systems. Indonesian banks have also been the victims of numerous large-scale frauds and corruption. Lax banking practices are often components of these frauds. A 1999 report commissioned by the Indonesian government found that nearly $80 million secretly transferred out of PT Bank Bali went into the accounts of former Indonesian President Habibie's senior aides, as well as his own political party, and entailed a large money laundering operation aimed at hiding numerous beneficiaries.

Indonesia has not enacted anti-money laundering legislation. Despite calls for several years by senior officials of the Bank Indonesia (Indonesia's central bank) to do so, there are no signs that any action has been taken. There are also indications that Indonesia's banks are not subject to adequate supervision or regulation. Several Indonesian banks have been victimized in scandals that might have been prevented if adequate safeguards had been in place. Once again, senior officials have, on occasion, called for action in this area, but none has been taken.

Indonesia does not have a financial intelligence unit.

Indonesia does not offer offshore services.

The Government of Indonesia (GOI) should prepare and implement both anti-money laundering legislation and prudential bank supervisory practices that are in accord with accepted international practices and standards.

Iran (Other). Iran is not a financial center, and is not considered to be of significance with regard to money laundering. The United States considers Iran to be a sponsor of international terrorism, which involves the laundering of operating funds. In addition, Iran's border with Afghanistan makes it an ideal transit country for drugs entering the European market. Iranian law enforcement officials reportedly carry out financial investigations in the context of drug crimes.

The Iranian real estate market is widely used as an alternative remittance system similar to hawala: real estate transactions take place in Iran, but no funds change hands there; rather, payment is made overseas. This is often done because of the difficulty in getting funds out of Iran and the relative weakness of the Iranian rial. However, in at least one case the real estate market was used to launder narcotics-related funds under the cover of legitimate businesses.

Iran has no laws against money laundering.

Iran is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Ireland (Concern). The primary sources of illicit proceeds in Ireland are narcotics trafficking, smuggling of contraband tobacco and VAT fraud. Money laundering takes place in financial institutions as well as unofficial banking networks using bureaux de change, which are not regulated in Ireland.

Ireland has two pieces of legislation that address money laundering, the Criminal Justice Act 1994 (CJA94) and Criminal Justice Act (miscellaneous provisions) 1997 (CJ(MP)A97). The CJA94 criminalized the laundering of the proceeds of narcotics trafficking and other criminal activity. It also required financial institutions to report suspicious transactions, implement customer identification procedures and retain records of financial transactions. The CJ(MP)A97 adds requirements for the implementation of counter-money laundering programs and for training in the identification of suspicious transactions.

Reports of suspicious transactions are filed with the Bureau of Fraud Investigation, which is Ireland's financial intelligence unit (FIU). The Bureau is a member of the Egmont Group.

Offshore banking in Ireland is concentrated in Dublin's International Financial Services Centre (IFSC). Attracted by a preferential ten percent corporate tax rate, around 400 international financial institutions and companies operate in the IFSC, employing over 7,000 people, mostly in the areas of fiscal management, re-insurance, fund administration and foreign exchange dealing. Since Irish personal tax rates are high and duties in Ireland on items such as automobiles are considerably higher than in other western European countries, this type of company is very attractive. IFSC companies are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. To date, there have been no proven cases of money laundering or other illegal financial activities associated with IFSC companies.

Until 1999, Irish law permitted the establishment in Ireland of Irish Registered Non-Resident Companies (IRNRs). Many IRNRs had no substantial operations in Ireland and were not liable to Irish taxation. Irish police suspected that a large number of the estimated 40,000 IRNRs were engaged in fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and other illegal operations. Abuse of IRNRs also threatened Ireland's reputation as an emerging financial center. In response, in 1999 the government introduced new tax and company law arrangements to clamp down on criminal use of IRNR-company status. The 1999 Finance Bill equates company registration in Ireland with tax residence, except in limited circumstances. New company law measures also require that every new application for company registration in Ireland be required to show how the proposed company will carry on activities in Ireland, and that every Irish registered company have an Irish resident director.

Ireland is a member of the Council of Europe and the FATF. Its FIU participates in the Egmont Group. Ireland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Isle of Man (Primary). The Isle of Man (IOM) is a British Crown Dependency. Its vulnerability to money laundering lies in its sophisticated offshore services sector, at the layering and integration stages. Historically, corporate service providers have been a relative weak link in the IOM's regulatory system. To address this problem, the IOM is taking aggressive steps to regulate, license and supervise company formation agents and corporate service providers. The legislation is scheduled to be implemented during 2000.

The IOM criminalized drug-related money laundering in 1987, and added terrorism as a predicated offenses for money laundering in1990. The Criminal Justice (Money Laundering Offenses) Act 1998 extended the money laundering offense to cover the proceeds of all serious crimes. There is no exemption for fiscal offenses. The IOM also enacted the Anti-Money Laundering Code 1998 (The 1998 Code) and amended that legislation effective December 1999. The Code (as amended) applies to a very wide range of financial businesses including lawyers, registered legal practitioners and accountants operating client accounts, company service providers and trust service providers. However a recent amendment to the Code provides an exemption from the identification of customers requirement for business relationships which were formed prior to December 1998.

The primary type of offshore company formed on the IOM is the Exempt Company. An exempt company may not do business on the IOM, and its beneficial owners are usually not residents of the IOM. The name of the beneficial owner need not be disclosed. Bearer shares may be issued, but not allotted directly to the bearer-they are allotted in registered form and then transferred. IOM law requires that the name and address of the holder of the bearer warrants be recorded.

The IOM allows "eligible introducers" to facilitate arrangements for financial transactions, such as opening bank accounts. Under this system, a financial institution need not know the beneficial owner of funds. The represents a potential gap in the IOM system.

Under laws covering drugs and terrorism, all citizens are required to report suspicious transactions. The penalty for failing to report is 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine. However, the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering Offenses) Act 1998 does not require mandatory reporting, but provides an absolute defense for money laundering in cases where suspicious transaction reports were made to the Police or Customs officials. All registered financial businesses, bureaux de changes, estate agents, casinos, betting shops, company and trust service providers, accountants, and lawyers are required to file reports of suspicious activity with the Fraud Squad Financial Investigation Unit, IOM Constabulary, which serves as the financial intelligence unit. The Fraud Squad is a member of the Egmont Group.

The IOM is a member of the OGBS and has played a leading role in the organization's anti-money laundering program.

The IOM has a good record of cooperation with overseas requests for assistance, on both regulatory and criminal matters, and new legislation will enhance its ability to share information. The IOM has developed a comprehensive anti-money laundering regime and has clearly demonstrated the political will to ensure that its financial institutions and services industry is not used to launder money. The IOM's key to success in preventing its financial sector from being used to launder money will be in the continued force with which it implements the new legislation and regulations.

Israel (Primary). Most law enforcement officials believe that a significant amount of money is laundered through Israel, primarily because money laundering is not a crime. Absent a money laundering law, Israeli officials have been unable to investigate and estimate the extent of money laundering in Israel or it its relation to narcotics trafficking. Many observers believe that Israel's banking sector is used to launder criminally derived funds but the volume is still unknown. The U.S.-Israeli MLAT went into effect in May 1999, but it has not facilitated cooperation in the asset forfeiture area because Israel has yet to enact the necessary legislation.

On April 14, 1999, the Israeli Government presented to the Knesset Law Proposal 5759-1999, "Prohibition of Money Laundering." The legislation has passed the first of the three readings necessary for the legislation to become law. Israeli cautiously expect the bill to pass all three readings in the Knesset by June 2000.

The proposed law would establish a comprehensive anti-money laundering regime in Israel. It also includes significant provisions on asset forfeiture. Specifically, the bill would criminalize money laundering predicated on a list of several serious offenses such as corruption, terrorism, gambling, counterfeiting, fraud, and narcotics trafficking; establish inbound and outbound currency reporting requirements; mandate certain recordkeeping and reporting requirements such as suspicious transaction and large currency transaction reporting for financial and non-bank financial institutions; and require the Minister of Justice to establish a central database that would receive the reports mandated by the law. With respect to asset forfeiture, the law would institute criminal and civil forfeiture regimes for money laundering offenses.

The proposed law requires implementing regulations by the Minister of Justice and other Ministers before it can be fully operational. Thus, a final evaluation of the new regime must await the drafting of the regulations. Nonetheless, the introduction of this law is very significant.

Currently, Israel only has criminal forfeiture as part of its Dangerous Drug Ordinance. Due to the pleading and evidentiary restrictions of the law, it is extremely difficult to apply. Israel has an asset forfeiture fund under which half of the proceeds are to be allocated to law enforcement purposes, with half going to other government programs. An official from the Anti-Drug Authority, the agency that has the controlling vote on how forfeited proceeds are allocated, has said that the forfeiture fund has not been effective in promoting forfeiture cooperation. Moreover, the official claimed it has not helped develop new cases because so much of the forfeited funds can be dedicated for non-law enforcement purposes.

The U.S. Department of Justice Forfeiture Program has shared forfeited assets with Israel on two occasions. The most recent was on August 10, 1998, when the United States transferred approximately $35,000 from the Department of Justice forfeiture fund to the Government of Israel in recognition of the assistance of the Israel National Police (INP). The successful prosecution and forfeiture case involved Ran Efraim, a heroin dealer prosecuted in Brooklyn, New York. The INP provided background intelligence on the targeted defendants who were Israeli citizens and sent eight police officers to New York to translate Hebrew on wiretapped calls. As a result, DEA was able to obtain search warrants and seize forfeitable property, which ultimately led to indictments against 11 individuals on charges of racketeering, heroin trafficking and conspiracy to commit murder.

Israel has been in the process of considering anti-money laundering legislation for the past several years. Although the collection database required by the proposed law is not expected to be completed for another three years, stricter law enforcement should be possible immediately after the promulgation of the law. It is critical that the proposed anti-money laundering legislation be enacted and implemented as soon as possible.

Italy (Primary). Although Italy is not a regional financial center, its large financial sector renders it vulnerable to money laundering. Italy is a drug consumption country and a drug transhippment point for western European nations, and a site for the laundering of narcotics-related proceeds. Italian organized criminal groups, particularly in the southern part of the country, continue to pose the major threat vis-�-vis money laundering. These groups engage in narcotics and alien smuggling, extortion, usury, and kidnapping, and the subsequent laundering of the proceeds of these crimes. Following the turmoil in the former Yugoslavia, the links between Italian criminal groups and their counterpart Russian and Albanian organizations have grown to include other organized crime groups active in the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

In 1997, the last year for which figures are available, money laundering activity in Italy was estimated to total over $50 billion annually. Much of this illicit money is funneled into commercial and financial entities in Italy and abroad, including both the bank and non-bank financial sector. Italian money launderers are reportedly purchasing large parcels of real estate in Italy and other European countries, particularly hotels in resort areas. The illegal gold market is also heavily used by money launderers.

Italy's major piece of anti-money laundering legislation is Act No. 153/97, which does the following:

  • Designates the Ufficio Italiano dei Cambi (UIC) as the recipient of suspicious transactions reports;

  • Creates an inter-ministerial commission to coordinate anti-money laundering among the various Italian enforcement and regulatory agencies;

  • Provides a safe harbor provision for those reporting suspicious transactions;

  • Establishes organizational links among the agencies which are involved in the fight against organized crime; and

  • Encourages the facilitation of international cooperation against money laundering.

Italy has criminalized money laundering for all serious crimes. The basic 1991 Italian anti-money laundering law requires customer identification, the recording of significant transactions (those above the equivalent of $10,000), and the reporting of suspicious transactions and crossborder cash movements above $10,000. Banks, stock brokerages, exchange houses and insurance companies are subject to the provisions of the law. Italy is considering extending the law to entities not now covered, such as casinos and notaries

The UIC functions as the Italian financial intelligence unit (FIU). It serves as the recipient of suspicious and large cash transaction reports, which had previously gone to local police precincts and thence to various regional authorities. The UIC receives millions of such reports per month; it scrutinizes these with the aid of sophisticated computer systems. After the UIC analyzes the reports and stores them in a unified database, it forwards them to the appropriate law enforcement agency-the Anti-Mafia Directorate (if the reports are connected with organized crime) or the Guardia di Finanza-for action if deemed necessary.

On the international scene, Italy served as president of the FATF in 1997-98. It underwent a successful second-round FATF mutual evaluation in 1997. The UIC is a member of the Egmont Group of FIUs. The Italian government has a number of bilateral agreements with foreign governments in the area of investigative cooperation on drug trafficking and organized crime. It also has in place an established system for tracing, freezing, seizing and confiscating assets. In accordance with Council of Europe procedure, Italy is committed to sharing these assets with the nations with which it cooperates.

Italy and the United States have in place a very successful MLAT and an extradition treaty. Italian-U.S. cooperation on money laundering cases is excellent, and the joint working of cases is common. However, Italian prosecution procedures can be lengthy. In addition, the divergent laws of the two nations can create problems. For example, under Italian law a person may be charged with money laundering only if he/she did not play a role in the underlying predicate offense. This means that the United States cannot obtain extradition of a person for trial on both money laundering and the predicate offense. Conversely, Italian prosecutors do not always specify a predicate offense when bringing a charge of money laundering. Since such information is necessary under U.S. law, this means that the United States cannot always respond to Italian extradition requests.

Italy's anti-money laundering statutes are comprehensive as regards reporting requirements, investigation and enforcement. But although thorough internal auditing and training programs are in place in the financial sector, implementation by non-bank institutions still lag behind as evidenced by the relatively low number of suspicious transactions reports being filed by these entities. More diligent training and supervision could help to close this gap, which may allow criminals to utilize these institutions as they seek new ways to launder their illicit proceeeds.

Jamaica (Concern). While Jamaica has not developed into a significant regional financial center, tax haven or offshore banking center, money laundering does occur, primarily through the purchase of assets such as cars and real estate. The laundering of proceeds through Jamaican banks and financial institutions does not appear to be prevalent.

Legislative efforts by the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) to fight narcotics trafficking and money laundering are based on the 1948 Dangerous Drugs Act, as amended; the 1994 Drug Offenses (Forfeiture of Proceeds) Act; the 1995 Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters Act;; the 1995 Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters Act; the 1996 Money Laundering Act ; the 1998 Maritime Drug Trafficking (Suppression) Act; and the 1999 Precursor Chemical Act. The 1996 Money Laundering Act criminalized narcotics-related money laundering and introduced recordkeeping (five years) and reporting requirements for banks and financial institutions (insurance companies, credit unions, currency exchange houses, money remitters, securities dealers) for currency transactions over $10,000.

The GOJ made progress during 1999 in bringing its anti-money laundering regime in line with international standards, particularly those of the CFATF. The Money Laundering Act was amended in March 1999 to raise the reporting threshold to $50,000 and to add a requirement for banks and financial institutions to report suspicious financial transactions in any amount to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Jamaica is also in the final stages of hiring personnel for the financial intelligence unit being created within the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Office of the Parliamentary Counsel has drafted amendments to the Money Laundering Act that will expand the list of predicate offenses to include fraud and firearms offenses. Further action is required, however, to address the critical issue of money laundering in relation to the proceeds of other serious crimes.

The Jamaican financial sector includes deposit-taking type institutions such as commercial banks (mostly retail banking), merchant banks, (commercial financing), building societies (financing for home ownership), credit unions and co-operatives, and non-depository institutions such as securities dealers/advisors, insurance companies and unit trusts. The Bank of Jamaica supervises the depository institutions (with the exception of credit unions and co-operatives) and licenses the exchange houses. The credit unions and co-operatives are quasi self-regulatory but are overseen by the Co-operatives Department. The various regulatory and supervisory entities for the financial industry, such as the Bank of Jamaica, the Securities Commission and the Superintendency of Insurance, have issued guidelines and procedures for their respective sectors regarding their obligations under the money laundering laws. They have also suggested approaches to meeting such obligations, and have conducted training sessions to assist in compliance.

Jamaica is a member of the CFATF, and underwent a mutual evaluation in March 1999. The GOJ has one year to carry out the recommendations contained in the report, following its adoption at the October 1999 CFATF meeting.

Current forfeiture laws require a criminal drug-trafficking conviction as a prerequisite to the forfeiture of assets. Jamaica does not have a civil forfeiture statute. Further GOJ action is needed in the area of asset forfeiture, since the current regime does not permit the GOJ to take full advantage of the forfeiture mechanism to augment the resources of its anti-drug agencies and deprive criminals of their illicit proceeds.

Japan (Primary). While there are no precise estimates concerning the scope of money laundering in Japan, Japan is suspected of being a major money laundering center. There is a growing drug market in Japan with increased trafficking activity within the illegal immigrant population. Law enforcement authorities believe that organized crime, e.g. the boryokudan, is responsible for much of the drug and other major crime, including money laundering.

In the past, Japan's anti-money laundering regime was viewed as virtually ineffective because of the limited scope of the money laundering predicates, the direct tracing requirements placed on law enforcement and the low level of suspicious transaction reporting by Japanese financial institutions. However, during 1999, an increased commitment by the Government of Japan (GOJ) to strengthen its anti-money laundering regime resulted in the enactment of new anti-organized crime legislation which substantially increased law enforcement's ability to fight money laundering. The GOJ also encouraged a renewed awareness by Japanese financial institutions as to the importance of suspicious transaction reporting, which resulted in an increase in suspicious transaction reports from 11 in 1998 to over 900 during 1999.

In previous years, Japanese law enforcement focused its attention on the investigation and prosecution of drug crimes with little emphasis on the investigation of money laundering. The Anti-Drug Special Law, enacted in 1991, criminalized only drug-related money laundering, mandated suspicious transaction reports for the illicit proceeds of drug offenses, and authorized controlled drug deliveries. The Japanese police and prosecutors undertook few investigations and prosecutions into suspected money laundering. The limited scope of the law and the burden required of law enforcement to prove a direct link between money and assets to specific drug activity rendered the law fairly ineffective.

However, within the last two years, the Japanese National Police have re-evaluated their investigative priorities and increasingly are focusing their efforts on the financial aspects of organized crime. The largest of these financial cases originated in September 1997, when police in Osaka arrested a boryokudan leader who had received $1.3 million in drug proceeds from junior gang members. In February 1998, the Osaka District Court, in the first use of the provisions of the money laundering law which prescribes the receipt of illicit drug proceeds, imposed a penalty of $1.3 million on the boryokudan leader.

In August 1999, Japanese efforts to combat money laundering were strengthened by the enactment of anti-organized crime legislation. This new legislation expanded the scope of the money laundering law beyond drug trafficking to include money laundering predicates such as murder, aggravated assault, extortion, theft, fraud, and kidnapping. The new law also extended the confiscation laws to include the additional money laundering predicates and to include value-based forfeitures; created a financial intelligence unit; and authorized electronic surveillance of organized crime members. Japanese law enforcement agencies have welcomed the passage of the new law and believe that the new legislation will strengthen their ability to fight money laundering.

Japan plays an active role in international anti-money laundering fora. It is a member of the FATF, serving as the president in 1998-1999. Japan underwent a second-round FATF mutual evaluation in 1997. Japan is also a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering and is the current G-8 president.

With the passage of the Anti-Organized Crime Law, Japan now has the legal tools and agencies in place to successfully combat money laundering. Japanese law enforcement must now make full use of the tools they have been given to aggressively investigate and prosecute money laundering and financial crime.

Jersey (Primary). The Bailiwick of Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, is a British Crown Dependency. The risk of money laundering is Jersey lies in its sophisticated offshore services sector, at the layering and integration stages. Historically, company and trust service providers are weak links in the regulatory system. The majority of Jersey's offshore sector consists of Exempt Companies, which may not conduct business in Jersey, but serve as holding companies for concerns operating elsewhere. Exempt companies pay no Jersey taxes.

Until the enactment of the Proceeds of Crime Law 1999 ("the 1999 Law") there were significant gaps in Jersey's anti-money laundering system. The Drug Trafficking Offenses Law of 1988 criminalized drug-related money laundering, while the Prevention of Terrorism Law of 1996 did the same for the proceeds of terrorist activity. Under the 1999 Law, the predicate offenses for money laundering now extend to all offenses with a maximum sentence of one year or more. Overseas offenses are covered where, had the equivalent conduct occurred in Jersey, it would have been a predicate offense. There is no exemption for fiscal offenses.

Under the laws relating to narcotics trafficking and terrorism, all citizens are required to report suspicious transactions. The penalty for failing to report is 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine. The 1999 Law does not stipulate mandatory reporting, but provides an absolute defense for money laundering in cases where suspicious transaction reports were made to the Police or Customs officials. Banks, lawyers, accountants and trust companies are also required to implement customer identification procedures and to retain financial records.

Reports of suspicious transactions are made to the Financial Investigations Unit (FIU), which serves as Jersey's financial intelligence unit. The FIU was estblished by informal agreement between Jersey Police and Customs.

The Financial Supervision Commission (FSC) is responsible for regulating Jersey's banks, building societies, insurance companies and collective investment schemes. The Company Registry also falls within the scope of the FSC's responsibility. Beginning in the summer of 2000, Jersey plans to give the FSC responsibility for the licensing and supervision of company and trust service providers.

Jersey has special arrangements for financial business introduced by certain intermediaries. Under this system, certain categories of individuals or institutions covered by the Money Laundering Order 1999, a financial institution need not know the beneficial owner of funds. This represents a potential gap in Jersey's system.

The 1999 Law went a long way towards addressing deficiencies in Jersey's ability to cooperate effectively with regulatory and criminal requests for assistance at the investigation stage, since it allows Jersey to comply with requests for assistance on the full range of money laundering offenses. Authorities are able to exchange available regulatory information with overseas counterparts, and to launch investigations into regulated institutions or persons on their behalf. However, they do not yet have the power to disclose information on individual client accounts, without the consent of the client, in response to a request for regulatory assistance. Significantly, there are no legal constraints on cooperation between law enforcement and regulatory authorities within Jersey.

Jersey is a member of the OGBS and has played a leading role in the organization's anti-money laundering program. The Financial Investigations Unit is a member of the Egmont Group.

Jersey has developed a comprehensive anti-money laundering regime and has clearly demonstrated the political will to ensure that its financial institutions and services industry is not used to launder money. Jersey's key to success in preventing its offshore financial sector from being used to launder money will be in the continued force with which it implements the new legislation and regulations.

Jordan (Other). Jordanian officials have in the past expressed concern about money laundering, but it is not a problem at present, since the country is not a major financial center, and foreign exchange entities are regulated by the government. The most recent instance of alleged money laundering involving Jordan took place in 1992, when the Central Bank of Jordan was accused of laundering Iraqi funds in Switzerland through such entities as the Iraqi Finance Corporation and the Jordanian Gulf Bank. The central bank denied the charges, and the accusations were never proven.

The Government of Jordan (GOJ) has not criminalized money laundering, and Jordanian officials say there is no move to draft such legislation in the foreseeable future, although Jordanian enforcement officials are supportive of such a move. Nor are there any financial laws that would assist in the investigation or prosecution of existing narcotics laws. Nonetheless, Jordanian officials report that some financial institutions cooperate with prosecutors' requests for access to financial records associated with narcotics offenses. The central bank has instructed Jordanian banks to be on the lookout for customers making "dubious" transfers and to be particularly careful when handling transactions made in foreign currency, especially if the amounts involved are large or if the bank has no information about the source of the funds. However, Jordan does not require depositors to disclose the origin of large cash deposits or transactions.

Jordan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. It does not have an MLAT with the United States.

Jordan needs to criminalize money laundering and to put in place a system of financial regulations, including requiring the reporting of suspicious transactions, in order to protect its financial system from abuse.

Kazakhstan (Other). Kazakhstan's financial infrastructure is advanced for the region. This, together with a significant organized crime presence and role in drug transshipment to Russian and Western European markets, give Kazakhstan substantial potential for hosting money laundering operations. The government has taken steps to combat money laundering and corruption and welcomes international training and assistance.

Kazakhstan's more than 200 organized crime groups are believed to be a big part of Kazakhstan's growing problems with money laundering and financial crime. These groups, which maintain ties with organized crime groups in the United States and Europe, have targeted banks, casinos and businesses engaged in food processing, distilling and export trade. They are extremely sophisticated and elusive. Kazakhstan officials estimate that $10 billion in illegal raw material exports have occurred through illegal joint ventures, although this figure may be exaggerated.

Kazakhstan has criminalized money laundering and is in the process of drafting anti-money laundering legislation. Inadequate financial controls make detection difficult; bank examiners are not trained to look for evidence of money laundering; rather, banking examination procedures address safety concerns. Law enforcement agencies in Kazakhstan lack resources to conduct effective investigations. Kazakhstan needs statues to delineate responsibility among the various law enforcement agencies. Kazakhstan customs enforcement faces serious problems in the areas of corruption, falsification of shipping documents and collection of revenue. Nevertheless, in 1999 Kazakhistani officials opened over 400 cases under the 1998 money laundering provision of the criminal code. Government steps to regulate the banking sector have reduced the number of banks and imposed relatively strict oversight of bank officials. The government has also made efforts to combat corruption.

Kazakhstan became a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention in 1997. Kazakhstan has received U.S.-funded anti-money laundering and combating economic crime training.

Kenya (Other). Kenya's strategic location, sea and air transport infrastructure and its strong commercial and family ties to India and Pakistan continue to make it a significant transit country for South Asian cannabis and heroin. Although Nairobi serves as the financial center for East African region, it is not an offshore financial center. There is no direct evidence that Kenya is a major money laundering country.

To date, there is no comprehensive anti-money laundering legislation that criminalizes money laundering beyond narcotic drugs. Kenyan banks are required to keep records on customers with large transactions; however, Kenya no longer exercises rigorous currency controls at its borders. In June 1998, the Kenyan government announced that it would focus efforts on combating money laundering. In 1999, the President of Kenya issued a statement denouncing money laundering and granted the Central Bank of Kenya the power to supervise all Kenyan banks. However, there has been little progress in this area, and corruption and lack of political will remain significant obstacles. Kenya has no narcotics-related asset forfeiture and seizure legislation.

There are approximately 50 banks in Kenya, including several international institutions. Although some bank managers have been involved with fraud and illegal lending activities, there have been no arrests or prosecution for money laundering offenses.

Kenya is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Korea (Republic of Korea) (Concern). Korea is vulnerable to money laundering for a variety of reasons. Korea is used as a transit country for international narcotics trafficking, especially from China, and its domestic narcotics consumption is on the rise. Korean organized crime groups cooperate with Japanese and Southeast Asian groups in the narcotics trade, and are increasingly penetrating Korea's business sector because of the presence of corruption and cronyism. Other sources of money laundering proceeds include corruption, prostitution, tax evasion, smuggling, and other financial crimes. The presence of alternative remittance systems in Korea allows criminals to transfer proceeds internationally.

Korea criminalized the laundering of narcotics proceeds with the adoption of the Act Against Illicit Trafficking in Drugs in 1995. A 1997 amendment to the Act requires financial institutions to report to the Prosecutor's Office transactions that are known to be connected to narcotics trafficking. Korea has adopted two other laws that address money laundering. The first was enacted in late 1997 and was titled the Act on Real Name Financial Transaction and Guarantee of Secrecy. It replaced an Emergency Presidential Decree issued in 1993 that required all financial transactions to be made under real names. This new legislation banned all financial transactions using anonymous, fictitious, and nominee names. The second law was the Anti-Public Corruption Forfeiture Act of 1994, which provided for the forfeiture of the proceeds of assets derived from corruption.

Realizing the need to criminalize money laundering for all serious crimes and to create an anti-money laundering regime, Korea drafted its Act on Money Laundering Prevention. The Act contains provisions for a definition of money laundering, the predicate offenses for money laundering, customer identification, record keeping requirements, and suspicious transaction reporting requirements by financial institutions to an authorized agency. Korea's draft anti-money laundering was suspended pending improvement of the country's economic and social conditions following the recent financial crisis.

Korea is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering. The United States and Korea cooperate in judicial matters under a 1993 MLAT. The United States and Korea also signed an extradition treaty in 1998.

Korea needs to criminalize money laundering for proceeds beyond those derived from narcotics trafficking for all serious crimes. Korea should enact and implement anti-money laundering legislation that meets international standards to protect its financial services industry from financial crimes and money laundering.

Korea (Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea)(Concern). The money laundering situation within North Korea remains an enigma; however, North Korea's alleged sponsorship of money laundering and other criminal activities abroad make it a country of concern. North Korea's reputed use of Macau as a base of operations for money laundering, narcotics trafficking, terrorism, arms trafficking, and counterfeiting (especially by North Korean individuals with diplomatic status) is of concern to Macanese authorities. In 1999, China granted North Korea's request to establish a consulate in Hong Kong, despite the grave reservations of Hong Kong authorities. Hong Kong enforcement officials fear a repeat of North Korea's track record in Macau. North Korea's state-owned mint is alleged to print counterfeit U.S. dollars for laundering in Russia, China, Macau, and other Asian countries.

Kuwait (Other). Although Kuwait has not yet enacted anti-money laundering legislation, the Kuwaiti Central Bank in 1997 ordered domestic banks to take measures to deter money laundering, including checking the identities of customers and the nature of their business. Banks are also to inform the central bank of all cash deposits over $13,000, and to notify authorities of any "irregular" funds transfers. The Governor of the central bank denied that Kuwait's banks are involved in money laundering, but stated that these measures were preventative in nature. Kuwait's banking sector is composes of six commercial banks, two specialized banks, one Islamic bank, and a branch of a Bahrain-based bank.

A senior official in Kuwait's Ministry of Finance stated in late 1999 that draft anti-money laundering legislation had been sent to the Kuwaiti cabinet for review, specifically to the Economic Committee, which includes the Ministers of Finance, Commerce and Industry, and Planning. Upon approval from the full cabinet, the draft law will be forwarded to the National Assembly. The time frame for this process is uncertain, but the Finance Ministry has expressed a wish to expedite passage of the draft law.

As is the case of the other members of the GCC, Kuwait is represented in the FATF by virtue of the GCC's membership in that body.

Kuwait's move to enact anti-money laundering legislation is an encouraging sign of its commitment to deter financial crime.

Kyrgyzstan (Other). Kyrgyzstan is used as a transit country by the narcotics-source countries of Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan is not an important financial center nor is money laundering a major problem. The major sources of illegal proceeds are narcotics trafficking, embezzlement of foreign assistance by government officials, smuggling of consumer goods and other commodities, official corruption and tax evasion.

The country has extremely favorable conditions for the development of a money laundering problem. In 1999, a senior official stated that money laundering in Kyrgyzstan had become a major spin-off activity of the drug trade. Kyrgyzstan has notcriminalized money laundering and has no money laundering legislation on the books. In 1995, the central bank drafted anti-money laundering legislation, which was not adopted when government ministries failed to support it. The central bank also instituted provisions on customer identification and an exception to the bank secrecy rules for suspicious transaction reporting, but these provisions are generally ignored by the commercial banks. There are no established reporting procedures, and oversight of the banking sector is minimal.

The Kyrgyz legislature has approved an asset forfeiture statue; however, law enforcement officials complain that the law is weak and proceedings can be drawn out through a lengthy judicial process.

Law enforcement agencies lack the resources to conduct effective money laundering investigations. Kyrgyzstan has expressed interest in further training programs and equipment from foreign counterparts.

Kyrgzstan became a signatory to the 1988 UN Drug Convention in 1994.

Laos (Other). Laos is not a major financial center, and it has no money laundering legislation. Effective money laundering legislation will first require an underlying body of banking law and regulation, most of which does not currently exist. The country does have strict laws on the export of the local currency, the Lao kip.

The Government of Laos is a party to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and has stated its goal is to become a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The government is working with the UNDCP and other foreign consultants to develop the fundamental regulatory framework necessary to bring Laos into compliance with the 1988 Convention. In the meantime, the Laotian Government sends officials to all relevant ASEAN conferences on regional anti-money laundering practices.

With regard to asset forfeiture, Laos enacted customs legislation in 1994 which states that the means of conveyance of any contraband can be seized along with that contraband.

Latvia (Concern). Money laundering remains a major concern in Latvia and is for the most part tied to organized crime. Latvia is a Baltic transportation center and thus serves as a location for the laundering of criminally derived proceeds from both foreign and domestic sources. The major domestic source of criminal proceeds is the smuggling of contraband gasoline, alcohol and tobacco; additional sources of funds include trafficking of narcotics, Russian capital flight and tax fraud. Some Latvian banks are used by Russian organized crime groups for money laundering. Russian funds are either deposited directly into Latvian banks or else deposited indirectly through offshore centers. Money laundering schemes commonly involve bank accounts opened in Latvia by Latvian shell subsidiaries of foreign companies that conduct financial transactions with shell corporations in offshore jurisdictions. The funds entering Latvian accounts may be wired abroad or withdrawn in cash.

Latvia's anti-money laundering legislation, the Law on the Prevention of Laundering of Proceeds Derived from Criminal Activity, became effective on June 1, 1998. Money laundering was criminalized by the addition of Article 151-4 to the Latvian Criminal Code on April 30, 1998. The criminal provisions apply to proceeds derived from all serious crimes.

The anti-money laundering law provides for a definition of money laundering, the types of transactions and financial institutions covered by the law, customer identification, record keeping requirements, suspicious transaction reporting, establishing a financial intelligence unit, and the establishment of internal rules for financial institutions to implement an anti-money laundering program.

The Office for the Prevention of the Laundering of Proceeds Derived from Criminal Activity (Control Service), the Latvian financial intelligence unit, has jurisdictional responsibility for money laundering violations. It is located in and supervised by the Latvian Prosecutor's Office. The Council of the Prosecutor General issued the Control Service's Charter on June 17, 1998. The Control Service is a member of the Egmont Group.

Latvia participates in the Council of Europe's PC-R-EV, which will conduct a mutual evaluation of Latvia's money laundering regime in March 2000. The U.S.-Latvia MLAT entered into force in 1999.

Latvia has established a solid legislative basis for combating money laundering. Latvia is in the process of implementing the provisions of the law and has identified weaknesses that it has indicated it will address in future legislation. The Council of Europe PC-R-EV's first Mutual Evaluation Report on Latvia will provide an assessment of its money laundering regime that Latvia could use to further strengthen its anti-money laundering efforts in building an effective regime that fully meets international standards for combating money laundering.

Lebanon (Primary). Following its devastating internal conflict, money is slowly coming back into Lebanon, which is presently one of the largest issuers of sovereign debt in the region. The Lebanese financial system is still one of the more liberal and advanced in the region, and is used extensively by Syrians who cannot conduct financial transactions in their own country due to government restrictions. Although Lebanese enforcement, regulatory and judicial officials deny that large-scale money laundering is going on in Lebanon, all acknowledge that a variety of factors make the country attractive to potential money launderers: Lebanon's long tradition of bank secrecy (anonymous accounts are permitted and disclosure of information to the authorities is permitted only in restricted circumstances); the cash-intensive nature of its economy; the heavy use of foreign currency (there is heavy dollarization); and the influx of remittances from expatriate workers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and South America. U.S. sources in the region say that while no in-depth study of money laundering in Lebanon has yet been carried out, it likely takes place through the layering of transactions in Lebanese banks and through the purchase of property and businesses. Sources of funds to be laundered include narcotics, smuggling and counterfeiting. Lebanese government officials allege that whatever money laundering does occur in Lebanon originates outside the country, in such nations as Cyprus, Turkey and Syria, but they provide no details. Up to now, no money laundering cases have been brought to trial in Lebanon or are even under investigation.

An anti-narcotics law that criminalized narcotics-related money laundering and in theory made it easier for the government to prosecute money launderers went into effect in March 1998. The law is considered inadequate for combating money laundering since it does not require the reporting of suspicious or large cash transactions, and does not address bank secrecy in general. It does provide for the seizure of assets and for piercing bank secrecy on a case-by-case basis. To date there have been no prosecutions of money laundering cases under the new law, nor are any investigations in progress. Certain crimes such as counterfeiting and the selling of stolen goods, while not covered under the anti-money laundering law, are independently prosecutable in Lebanon.

The Banking Control Commission (BCC) is the Lebanese governmental body that supervises and examines commercial banks. BCC examiners may not review individual deposit accounts (they review deposit totals), and there is no access to depositors' names. They must report any unusual activity to the central bank. A fee is imposed on all deposit accounts, for insurance purposes and to ensure secrecy-in effect, all deposit accounts are anonymous. A customer may waive bank secrecy by giving permission for a third party to review account information. Ninety percent of commercial banks are also audited by international firms, as required by law, which must report suspicious activity. However, the Lebanese Bankers Association could cite only two cases involving suspicious funds transfers, both from abroad.

Non-bank financial institutions, such as exchange houses, stock brokerages, money couriers and insurance companies, are not required to report unusual activity, but the amount of money they handle is not significant.

Lebanese bankers, because of perceived government corruption and past breaches of trust, do not trust the government to put in place an anti-money laundering regime. They believe that their self-regulating system, embodied in the Lebanese Bankers Association's (LBA's) Due Diligence Convention, is adequate to combat money laundering and ensure the integrity of the financial system. The LBA is in the process of revising the Convention to strengthen the prerogatives and investigative powers of the LBA's Supervisory Committee. However, penalties for non-compliance with the Convention are weak. Lebanon's long tradition of bank secrecy (described by several government officials as "sacred") is unlikely to change in the near future, since both private bankers and Lebanese officials see it as a lure to help rebuild the country as a regional financial center. Lebanese law authorizes the operation of offshore banks, but the Governor of the Lebanese Central Bank stated in June 1999 that he has not authorized the issuance of any offshore licenses and has no plans to do so. He has also rejected requests from a number of Russian banks to establish operations in Lebanon.

Lebanon has no financial intelligence unit. If the BCC informs the central bank of a suspicious money movement, the bank sends an investigative request to the Prosecutor General, who in turn sends it to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). The MOJ sends the request to the Financial Crimes Bureau of the Internal Security Forces (ISF). Should an FIU be established at some future date, it would likely be housed in the ISF.

Lebanon is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. However, the Lebanese government expresses reservations about the sections of the Convention pertaining to bank secrecy. Lebanon is an observer in the OGBS, having lost its full membership in that organization when it refused to undergo a mutual evaluation. Lebanon has endorsed the Basle Core Principles and is in the process of implementing them. Lebanon and the United States do not have an MLAT.

Lebanon needs to expand its anti-money laundering legislation to international standards to include non-drug related money laundering, and to require the reporting of suspicious transactions. It also urgently needs to reexamine the issue of bank secrecy to allow easier penetration in cases of money laundering.

Lesotho (Other). Lesotho is becoming attractive to narcotics traffickers, but does not have high levels of money laundering. However, the significant amounts of counterfeit U.S. and South African currency being passed in Lesotho and the region are linked with narcotics trafficking.

Lesotho does not have an offshore sector. The domestic banking sector is small and risk averse, but provides limited financial service options that could potentially facilitate significant money laundering. Banking sector legislation and regulations require banks to be aware of clients who routinely make large cash deposits and to share information on suspicious transactions with central bank regulators. Policy discussions to promote the business and financial services sector include active recognition of the risks associated with money laundering.

Legislation to counter official corruption of elected officials and civil servants was introduced in early 1999 The government actively participates in discussions on countering official corruption, money laundering and drug trafficking within the Organization of African Unity, the Commonwealth of Nations, Southern African Development Community and the UN. The cabinet is actively considering new laws, based on the UN Drug Convention model, on money laundering and the seizure and forfeiture of assets gained via corruption and narcotics trafficking. Lesotho's criminal codes presently allow for the seizure of vehicles involved in drug trafficking offenses.

Lesotho has no bilateral narcotics or mutual legal assistance agreements, but cooperates with South Africa in joint operations. Lesotho is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Liberia (Other). Liberia is increasingly a transshipment point for illicit drugs from Asia and South America to markets in Europe and the United States, and there are reports that Liberia may be used in the transshipment of diamonds and other commodities. Thus, Liberia may be vulnerable to money laundering activity. However, Liberia is neither a financial center nor a significant player in money laundering. Liberia's offshore activity seems concentrated in the ship registry sector. Bearer shares are permitted in the formation of Liberian companies, but there is no information available on the extent that this facilititates money laundering. Liberia reportedly has 16 banks, but only a small number are open to the public.

Liberia is not a signatory to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Liechtenstein (Primary). Liechtenstein's low tax rate, liberal business incorporation rules and strict bank secrecy contribute to its popularity as a financial center. Money laundering in Liechtenstein is believed to take place in its well-established offshore services sector. Liechtenstein's offers a variety of offshore services and products, including anonymous accounts, bearer shares, and insurance and reinsurance company formation. Liechtenstein has more than 75,000 registered offshore companies, of which more than 25,000 are holding companies ("letter-box companies"). Holding companies have nominal offices in Liechtenstein, and the fees they pay account for 30 per cent of state revenues. Liechtenstein's absence of tax on income earned offshore means that a properly established entity with income outside of Liechtenstein could have little or no tax liability.

Money laundering, both drug-related and non-drug-related, has been a criminal offense in Liechtenstein since 1993, but early legislation was not comprehensive, and the enforcement of more recent legislation has reportedly been ineffective. Asset forfeiture legislation is also in place. The Professional Diligence Duties Act (PDDA) (1997) and the Professional Diligence Duties Ordinance (1997) require financial institutions, insurance companies, investment firms, fiduciaries, and attorneys to establish the identities of clients, third parties, and beneficiaries. The only exceptions are when the client is subject to the PDDA, is a juridical person, or is a foreign bank subject to the EU (or similar) money laundering directive that already deals with a Liechtenstein bank. The PDDA also requires the above entities to report suspicious transactions to the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which conducts spot checks to ensure compliance. Customer identification and beneficial ownership information must be on file. Through September, 1999, 47 suspicious activity reports were filed with the FSA, the majority by banks. Most investigations were initiated following requests for assistance from abroad. Of 41 cases passed on to prosecutors, 33 are pending and eight have been dismissed.

On May 1, 1999, the former Office of Bank Supervision was subsumed into the FSA, in an effort to consolidate Liechtenstein's anti-money laundering regime into a single authority and to expand its powers.

Requirements for disclosure should be considered in conjunction with Liechtenstein's very strict bank secrecy, established by the Banking Law, which has been in effect since January 1, 1993. This law binds employees of banks and finance companies with a duty of non-disclosure. In addition, government employees having access to information which is subject to these bank secrecy provisions are bound by the same duty of noon-disclosure. Almost all information that a bank acquires from its own research or in the course of its dealings with a client is considered privileged. Third parties to transactions also benefit from Liechtenstein's bank secrecy: any information that comes into a bank's possession regarding associates or relatives of a client is also subject to the nondisclosure requirement.

The Persons and Companies Law (PCL) establishes each individual's right of privacy with respect to his financial affairs. Under this law, a party can seek damages if an unauthorized disclosure is made. Penalties for unauthorized disclosure include a prison term of up to six months. Liechtenstein is one of the few in which bank secrecy is legally enforced.

The PCL is also the basis on which a wide range of entities may be established in Liechtenstein. Some of the more common are limited liability companies or corporations, either with or without shares; foundations, which may be set up by trustees; trusts; and the Anstalt. The Anstalt is a commercial or noncommercial (e.g. asset management or asset investment) "establishment," a company with its base in Liechtenstein and the majority of its activities taking place outside of Liechtenstein. Trusts and trust enterprises can make the settlor of assets the ultimate beneficiary, thereby undermining the fundamental notion of a trust-its irrevocability. A salient feature of all of these entities is that the owners, founders, shareholders or settlors can remain anonymous.

As a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), Liechtenstein has incorporated much of the EU money laundering directives into its laws. However, the financial services sector is not affected. The EU is pushing for tax harmonization within the Union, which could lessen Liechtenstein's advantage as a tax haven.

Liechtenstein is not a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, nor does it participate in FATF activities. It is a member of, and an active participant in, the Council of Europe's PC-R-EV, and is scheduled to undergo a mutual evaluation by that body in 2000.

Liechtenstein does not have an MLAT with the United States. Although its bank secrecy laws can make cooperation difficult, cooperation with the United States on money laundering-related offenses has generally been good.

Although Liechtenstein has a strong anti-money laundering regime in place and has tightened the regulation of financial fiduciaries, no trustee has lost his license, nor has there been a successful prosecution of a money laundering case. In addition, few resources-four people-have been devoted to the FSA, which is tasked with due diligence oversight of the entire financial services sector. Tax evasion in Liechtenstein is not a crime, and Liechtenstein does not disclose bank account information linked to either tax evasion or tax fraud to a foreign country.

During a February 2000 visit by the Swiss foreign minister. Liechtenstein's head of government promised to help enact legislation to improve Liechtenstein's ability to respond rapidly to judicial assistance requests on money laundering.

Lithuania (Other). Money laundering remains a problem in Lithuania. Sources of illicit proceeds include smuggling and narcotics trafficking, but most funds appear linked to capital flight, profit concealment and tax evasion schemes. Although the bulk of the proceeds laundered through Lithuanian banks are from foreign sources, there are domestic sources as well. International money laundering schemes involve banks located in Russia, Lithuania, Hungary and the United States. Lithuania's anti-money laundering program is still in the early stages of implementation, but the framework appears to be in conformity with international standards.

Lithuania's 1997 anti-money laundering law requires the reporting of both suspicious and large transactions, defined as those exceeding $12,500. Financial institutions must also identify and keep a register on the customer if the monetary operations are in excess of $12,500. The Bank of Lithuania issues currency transaction reporting requirements and regulations. The Bank of Lithuania is required to communicate money laundering violation information to law enforcement and other state institutions upon request. Non-bank financial institutions operate under guidelines similar to those applied to financial institutions. The Bank of Lithuania has the right to examine all books, records and documents of any economic or credit institution, whether or not licensed by the Bank.

In 1999, the Tax Inspection Department's counter-money laundering department investigated money laundering at one of Lithuania's banks.

Lithuania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and a member of the Council of Europe. Lithuania participates in the Egmont Group. It is an active participant in international anti-money laundering efforts, including joint money laundering investigations. Lithuania has received substantial U.S.-funded anti-money laundering training in recent years and is targeted to receive further training in money laundering investigative techniques and in combating economic crime.

Luxembourg (Primary). The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is one of Europe's major financial centers due in part to its favorable tax environment. Strong bank secrecy laws have made Luxembourg attractive to criminal elements seeking to launder funds. Money laundering is believed to take place in Luxembourg's banks and offshore sector, which offer a high degree of secrecy and wide range of sophisticated financial services. Eager to dispel the image of the country as a locus for laundered funds, Luxembourg authorities have undertaken to strictly enforce strict legislation passed in 1998 and increase cooperation with international anti-narcotics measures.

Luxembourg's anti-money laundering legislation consists of Loi d7 Julillet 1989 (updated in 1998) and Loi du 18 Decembre 1993. These laws criminalize the laundering of proceeds for all offenses. They also implement the customer identification, record keeping, and suspicious transaction reporting requirements as dictated by the EU anti-money laundering directive. The Government of Luxembourg has continued its efforts to increase awareness of reporting requirements and to strengthen enforcement.

Strict bank secrecy laws and Luxembourg's position as a major world financial center hosting more than 209 banks that operate as "universal banks" with an unrestricted range of services gave the Grand Duchy a reputation as a money laundering haven. Striking back, Luxembourg passed new, strict anti-money laundering laws in 1998 and took steps to harmonize its practices with those of other EU members. Two important consequences of this are that bank secrecy, while still strong, has been weakened, and the tax regime, while still favorable, is becoming more like that in other EU nations, somewhat diminishing Luxembourg's attractiveness for money laundering.

The government of Luxembourg licenses offshore banks, non-bank financial institutions and businesses. Banking controls are implemented by the Luxembourg Central Bank. Luxembourg has strict bank secrecy. Foreign institutions seeking to become established in Luxembourg must demonstrate prior establishment in a foreign country, and meet stringent minimum capital requirements. Banks are required to undergo annual audits. However, only the Commissioner of Bank Control can gain access to the identity of beneficial owners of accounts. The Commissioner of Bank Control is only allowed to share information with bank regulators of other countries with respect to the solvency, liquidity and management of Luxembourg subsidiaries and branches. Non-bank financial institutions must meet minimum capital requirements, and are also regulated by the Central Bank. In addition to offshore banks, in 1999 Luxembourg had 1,650 offshore investment funds, 118 insurance companies and 279 reinsurance companies.

Luxembourg corporate entities must maintain a registered office in Luxembourg. There is a requirement for minimum share capital in the amount of approximately $10,000. The directors of the company must be identified, and are included in a government registry. There is, however, no requirement to identify the beneficial owner of the company and bearer shares are permitted. Companies are required to pay an annual tax/license fee of approximately $150. One of the most popular offerings of Luxembourg's offshore sector is the SOPARFI (Soci�t�s Participation Financi�re; the suffix SA (Soci�t� Anonyme) is used), which is a public or private limited liability company for holding shares in Luxembourg or non-resident companies. SOPARFIs enjoy several important tax benefits, including an exemption from withholding tax and an exemption on dividends from EU subsidiaries.

Luxembourg is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Luxembourg's financial intelligence unit (FIU) is the Anti-Money Laundering Unit, which reports to the Public Prosecutor. The Unit is a member of the Egmont Group. Luxembourg is also a member of the FATF. A fund established in 1992 from drug-related money laundering seizures (currently worth over $1 million) helps finance international anti-drug trafficking efforts in South America.

Luxembourg has cooperated vigorously with foreign law enforcement authorities, including U.S. law enforcement authorities. In 1999, Luxembourg police provided DEA-Brussels significant cooperation and support in the seizure of a Luxembourg bank account containing $72,000 in drug-related proceeds. Additionally, the police were instrumental in helping to identify additional companies and accounts that led to a follow-up seizure of an additional $300,000. Other ongoing investigations are meeting with equal levels of cooperation.

The Government of Luxembourg needs to ensure that bank secrecy can be easily lifted in cases of criminal investigations.

Macau (Concern). Low taxes, a free port, flexible corporate laws, no foreign exchange controls, and a laissez-faire approach to governing give Macau an environment conducive to money laundering. Macau serves as a gateway for trade with China and as a transit point to remit funds and criminal proceeds to and from China, Hong Kong, and other Asian countries. Organized crime racketeering, loansharking, prostitution, and money laundering associated with Macau's casino industry are major enforcement concerns. Organized crime groups based in Macau are known to launder their proceeds through joint ventures and real estate purchases in China, or through cross border cash transfers, front companies, casinos, real estate purchases, currency exchanges, and alternative remittance systems.

Alternative remittance systems (ARS) serve as money laundering mechanisms and are widely used by ethnic Chinese communities throughout the world including Macau. The laundering of criminal proceeds through ARS are extremely difficult to detect or prevent.

The Chinese ARS can transfer large sums of money efficiently and quickly without leaving financial records tied to the transactions. The paper trail is eliminated by avoiding official reporting requirements to Customs authorities that bulk cash or monetary instruments would attract at the border, and commercial bank reporting requirements that cash or suspicious transactions require.

The Chinese ARS relies on a network of businesses such as jewelry stores, gold shops, travel agencies, money exchangers, finance companies, and import/export companies. At certain stages of the money transfer, the system depends on legitimate banks to balance the accounts of the parties conducting the transaction. No physical transfer of funds takes place; the transaction is merely a credit entry in the sending company's account and a debit entry in the receiving company's account. Even though physical funds are not moved during the transfer of funds using the Chinese ARS, the books must be balanced to reflect the actual exchange of value that the entries in the correspondent accounts represent. To accomplish this, the entities conducting underground transactions would use larger banks to transfer money usually through foreign intermediate banks to settle their accounts.

The ARS is much faster than bank procedures since large currency transactions can be conducted in a matter of hours. Fees are kept low, since the Chinese underground bankers also profit by taking advantage of unofficial currency exchange rates that are more favorable than official exchange rates. ARS uses businesses located within the community where banks may not be present or located at some distance. ARS hours tend to be more flexible than commercial bankers' hours.

Macau has enacted three laws that deal with money laundering. These are the Macau Financial System Act approved by Decree Law N�32/93/M on July 5, 1993, the Law on Organized Crime approved by Decree Law N�6/97/M on July 30, 1997, and Decree Law N�24/98/M of 1 June, 1998 which established preventive measures for the Law on Organized Crime.

The Macau Financial System Act provides for regulatory measures to prevent the use of the banking system for money laundering. It requires the mandatory identification and screening of financial institution shareholders, customer identification requirements, recordkeeping requirements, requirements for financial institutions to submit financial statements verified by outside auditors, and a list of suspicious transaction indicators. It also has provisions to allow for the exchange of information between the Macau Monetary and Exchange Authority with other supervisory agencies. These regulatory measures are applicable to credit institutions and financial companies headquartered in Macau and branches of credit institutions headquartered abroad.

Article 10 of the Law on Organized Crime (Decree Law N�6/97/M) criminalizes money laundering for the proceeds of all domestic and foreign criminal activities and contains provisions for the freezing of suspect assets and instrumentalities of crime. Although legal entities may be civilly liable for money laundering offenses, their employees may be criminally liable.

The preventive measures in Decree Law N�24/98/M set forth requirements for reporting suspicious transactions to the Judiciary Police. These reporting requirements apply to all legal entities supervised by the Macau Monetary and Exchange Authority and the Inspectorate of Gaming. Pawnbrokers, antique dealers, art dealers, jewelers, and real estate agents must also report suspicious transactions.

Macanese authorities are confident in the legal basis to combat money laundering among legally established financial and commercial entities. They are concerned that they lack the mechanisms to effectively control money laundering through ARS operating in Macau. The two major problems they have identified are obtaining evidence to prove that funds in the ARS are criminal proceeds, and the inability to control the free flow of currency in and out of Macau.

Macau offers and two types of limited liability company formation that have implications for money laundering. These are public corporations with the suffix designation "SARL" and quota companies with the suffix designation "Lda". Quota companies are more popular with foreign investors. Both types of limited liability companies do allow for shielding beneficial ownership since shareholders in quota companies may be nominees and SARLs are allowed to issue bearer shares. Although these commercial entities are subject to Macau's anti-money laundering legislation, the characteristics allowing for anonymity are attractive for money laundering activities.

Macau has no formal established financial intelligence unit. According to Macau's anti-money laundering legislation, the Judiciary Police receive criminal transaction reports and conduct investigations into criminal activities. Macau participates in meetings of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering but is not an official member. Macau and the United States have not signed an MLAT. Prior to Macau's reverting from Portuguese to Chinese administration, the United States and Portugal relied on the exchange of letters rogatory for judicial assistance.

Although Macau has successfully prosecuted money laundering offenses under its anti-money laundering regime, it should consider adopting measures to address money laundering loopholes identified through the use of alternative remittance systems and bulk currency movements across its borders. Macau should also review provisions in its company formation statutes that prevent Macanese authorities from identifying beneficial owners of businesses that might serve as conduits for money laundering. Creation or designation of a financial intelligence unit could provide Macau a less formal channel of communication for information on money laundering and other crimes that would complement Macau's reliance on letters rogatory and Interpol channels to exchange information of value to investigators, prosecutors, and regulators.

Macedonia, Former Yugoslav Republic of (Other). Macedonia is currently neither a major financial nor money laundering center. Facing many of the same problems as other former Yugoslav republics, but further complicated by its proximity to Albania, Kosovo and Bulgaria, Macedonian money laundering activities tend to be connected to financial crimes, such as tax evasion, financial and privatization fraud, bribery and corruption, rather than the laundering of narcotics proceeds. Macedonian officials show awareness of the country's potential for money laundering activities and are developing a legal structure that should help it address money-laundering problems.

Turbulent political conditions in the Balkans and a cash-based economy create concerns of banking sector vulnerability to money laundering. In response, Macedonian officials are drafting anti-money laundering legislation.

In October 1999, Macedonia underwent a mutual evaluation of its anti-money laundering capability, conducted by the Council of Europe's PC-R-EV. The report will be available in June 2000. Macedonian law enforcement authorities have received U.S. money laundering training on combating financial crime.

Macedonia became a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention in 1993.

Malaysia (Concern). Malaysia is not an important regional financial center, but it offers a wide range of financial services (in the traditional financial sector as well as through alternative remittance systems) potentially attractive to money launderers. The Government of Malaysia (GOM) has a well-developed regulatory framework, including licensing and background checks, to oversee onshore financial institutions. The GOM strongly discourages money laundering, and there is no evidence that government officials are complicit in money laundering activity. However, the lack of a comprehensive anti-money laundering statute makes money laundering an area of concern. Malaysia does have an asset forfeiture law that allows seizure of criminal assets.

The Labuan Offshore Financial Services Authority (LOFSA) on the island of Labuan is of particular concern. The LOFSA (often referred to simply as "Labuan") provides a wide range of financial services such as offshore banking and trust partnerships, which are restricted to the fields of accounting, actuarial science, engineering and law. There are 63 offshore banks (55 foreign-owned), approximately 56 insurance companies, six mutual funds, five fund managers, and 16 trust companies operating in Labuan. Because there is no requirement to register offshore trusts, their number is not known. Nominee (anonymous) accounts are permitted in Labuan, as are nominee (anonymous) company directors at Labuan's approximately 1,700 international business companies. There is no requirement to disclose the beneficial owner of a corporation. There is, however, a government registry of corporate directors and shareholders; this information is not available to the public. Malaysia has several pieces of legislation dealing specifically with Labuan.

Malaysia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. It is an observer at the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, and recently became a member of the OGBS.

Malaysia has no bilateral agreements for the sharing of information on money laundering, but does allow foreign countries to check the operations of their banks' branches. Malaysia's general record of cooperation with U.S. counternarcotics agencies is excellent.

The Government of Malaysia (GOM) needs to enact comprehensive anti-money laundering legislation. Further expansion of Malaysia's participation in multinational and bilateral anti-money laundering organizations would also be helpful in ensuring that money launderers do not abuse Malaysian financial institutions, including those in Labuan.

Maldives (Other). The Maldives is neither a financial center nor significantly involved in money laundering. Despite some local hope that the Maldives could become an offshore financial center, its banking laws remain antiquated, frustrating efforts in that direction. Currency controls remain in place.

The Maldives signed the 1988 UN Drug Convention in 1989, but is not yet a party because its legislature has not yet approved the Convention. There are no laws specifically addressing money laundering or asset seizure. There is no information indicating how the Maldives plans to meet the obligations imposed by the Convention.

Malta (Other). Malta does not at present have a serious money laundering problem. The crime rate remains low, and the major sources of illicit proceeds are drug dealing and fraud. However, bank secrecy laws and the tax code, which are designed to attract outside investors, especially those with whom Malta has double taxation treaties (29 in force), continue to provide possible incentives for money laundering. Malta's offshore sector also puts the country at risk for money laundering activity.

The Malta Financial Services Centre has been successful in attracting considerable numbers of offshore entities-as of 1999, there were four offshore banks, 14 credit institutions, 16 Malta-based collective investment schemes (mutual funds), 84 overseas-based collective investment schemes, and nearly 25,000 registered international business companies. The Government of Malta (GOM) has said that it intends to phase out all offshore operations by 2004. Until then, Malta's offshore sector will face the same vulnerabilities to money laundering as those of other countries.

The GOM criminalized money laundering in 1994 with passage of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The Act imposed a maximum fine of $2,633,000 and/or 14 years in prison for those convicted of this crime. The Act also provided for asset forfeiture. Also in 1994, the Central Bank of Malta issued the Prevention of Money Laundering Regulations, applicable to financial and credit institutions, life insurance companies, and investment and stock firms. The Regulations impose requirements for customer identification, record keeping, the reporting of suspicious transactions, and the training of employees in anti-money laundering topics. Suspicious transactions are reported to the competent authority that supervises an institution (in the case of banks, the Central Bank of Malta). Should the authority suspect money laundering, it is required to forward the report to the police.

Malta is a member of the Council of Europe and the OGBS.

Marshall Islands (Concern). The Republic of the Marshall Islands is a constitutional government in free association with the United States. Comprising a collection of atolls and reefs in the north Pacific equidistant from Hawaii and Indonesia, the Marshall Islands has maintained a relatively low international profile. The Marshall Islands has been the focus of increased international attention with the development of its offshore sector, which is managed by a U.S.-based company. Non-resident corporations (NRCs)-the equivalent of international business companies (IBCs)-have been linked to the laundering of criminal proceeds from Russia and other jurisdictions. In 1999, the Russian Central Bank instituted regulatory measures to scrutinize offshore financial transactions involving the Marshall Islands and other offshore financial centers to prevent illegal financial transactions. Features of NRCs make them ideal vehicles for money laundering.

The Associations Law of the Republic of the Marshall Islands of 1990 is the legislative basis for establishing NRCs. The law was patterned after the incorporation statutes of Delaware and New York, with certain provisions borrowed from United Kingdom law. Several types of corporation formation models are available, with confidentiality and asset protection provisions typical of other offshore centers. These include nondisclosure of beneficial ownership, the availability of bearer shares, and the marketing of shelf companies. Officers, directors, and shareholders may be of any nationality and live anywhere. Their names need not be disclosed on incorporation records. Corporate entities may be listed as officers and shareholders, since NRCs have all the powers of a natural person. Although NRCs must maintain a registered office in the Marshall Islands, the Associations Law of 1990 allows for corporations to transfer domicile into and out of the Marshall Islands with relative ease.

Besides NRCs, the Marshall Islands offers non-resident trusts, partnerships, unincorporated associations, and domestic and foreign limited liability companies. Strong asset protection features are built into the Associations Law of 1990 for all of these entities. Banks and insurance companies are not licensed for offshore services in the Marshall Islands. Marketers of offshore services via the Internet promote the Marshall Islands as a favored jurisdiction, primarily for establishing NRCs.

The Marshall Islands has draft anti-money laundering legislation under consideration for all serious offenses. However, the legislation does not contain requirements to report suspicious transactions to a central authority. Disclosure requirements for NRCs are minimal, and no annual reports are required. The Marshall Islands has no supervisory authority to monitor its offshore sector, which prevents effective oversight. The Marshall Islands does not participate in any international anti-money laundering fora, nor has it signed any bilateral agreements to exchange information to assist in criminal investigations and prosecutions for money laundering offenses.

The Marshall Islands needs to enact and implement anti-money laundering legislation that meets international standards in order to protect its financial services industry from financial crime and money launderers. Particular emphasis needs to be directed to its offshore financial center, which lacks prudential supervision.

Mauritius (Other). Mauritius is a growing regional financial center with ambitions to become the major financial center for the Indian Ocean and Southern and Eastern Africa. The Government of Mauritius (GOM) promotes itself as a low tax jurisdiction whose offshore sector serves as the gateway to investment in both Asia and Africa. Regional money laundering probably occurs in both the offshore and onshore sector.

Since passage of the 1992 Offshore Business Activities Act, 10,744 offshore entities have been formed, and eleven offshore banks have been licensed. Mauritius offers offshore entities zero rate taxation on net profits from offshore business operations, free repatriation of profits, freedom from exchange controls, a network of double taxation avoidance treaties, and concessionary personal income tax rates for expatriate staff. It also imposes no withholding tax on interest payable on deposits raised from non-residents by offshore banks, or on dividends payable by offshore entities; no estate or inheritance tax on the inheritance of shares in an offshore entity; and no capital gains tax.

Applications to form an offshore company are reviewed by the Mauritius Offshore Business Activities Authority (MOBAA), which then passes a recommendation to the Ministry of Finance. All offshore banking activities are subject to supervision by the Bank of Mauritius under the Banking Act of 1988. The Bank of Mauritius' prior approval is needed in order to open a foreign currency account with an offshore bank. Offshore insurance companies and other non-banking activities fall under the supervision of the MOBAA.

According to the MOBAA, as of December 6, 1999, the offshore sector in Mauritius consisted of 164 offshore fund management companies, 162 offshore trusts, 10 offshore insurance companies, 30 offshore finance companies, 4,560 offshore investment holding and trading companies, and 5,837 international business companies.

Money laundering is not a crime in Mauritius. The GOM has vowed to present an anti-money laundering bill to Parliament for the past two years, without any result to date. The 1986 Mauritian anti-narcotics law provides for asset seizure and forfeiture. However, while numerous assets have been temporarily frozen, no forfeitures have been finalized. The obstacle appears to be lack of cooperation between the national police and the public prosecutor's office. While Mauritius and the United States have no MLAT, the GOM has cooperated with the United States in anti-narcotics investigations involving money laundering.

Mauritius is a signatory to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, but has not ratified it.

Given Mauritius' large offshore sector, it needs to adopt strong anti-money laundering legislation to protect its economy and financial services industry from money laundering and other financial crimes.

Mexico (Primary). Despite the impact of the 1998 U.S. money laundering investigation Operation Casablanca on the Mexican and U.S. financial communities, Mexican drug trafficking organizations continue to exploit Mexican banks and money exchange institutions to place and transfer illicit proceeds to financial systems throughout the world. The smuggling of bulk shipments of U.S. currency into Mexico and the movement of the cash back into the United States via couriers and armored vehicles, as well as wire transfers remain favored methods for laundering drug-profits, and represent a long-term challenge for both governments. Identifying the true owners of the bulk cash that transits the U.S.-Mexican border in both directions must be a priority item for both governments in 2000 and beyond. Mexico has financial institutions that engage in currency transactions involving international narcotics trafficking proceeds that include significant amounts of U.S. dollars.

Mexico has made progress in its commitment to combat money laundering. During 1999, the Secretariat of the Treasury (Secretaria de Hacienda y Credito Publico - SHCP), the National Banking Commission (Comision Nacional de Banqueros y Valores - CNBV), and the Office of the Attorney General (Procuraduria General de la Republica - PGR), enhanced cooperation to enforce the measures available to them under the May 1996 money laundering law (Article 400 Bis of the Federal Penal Code) and corresponding 1997/98 regulations. With this Law, the GOM criminalized the laundering of proceeds related not only to the illicit drug trade but other serious crimes as well, and instituted penalties ranging from 5 to 15 years imprisonment for financial institution employees convicted of money laundering. Banks and other financial institutions (mutual savings bodies, insurers, financial advisers, currency exchange houses) are required to know and identify customers, maintain records of transactions, and report currency transactions over $10,000 (CTRs) and transactions considered unusual or suspicious (SARs) to the Attached Directorate General for Transaction Investigations -DGAIO part of the Secretariat of the Treasury. The DGAIO, the Mexican financial intelligence unit, became operational in May 1997.

During 1999, the DGAIO received more than 6,000,000 CTRs and nearly 2,000 SARs, twice the number it received in 1998, but we are unaware of specific investigations or prosecutions that have been commenced or enhanced on the basis of these filings. The DGAIO and the Mexican banking community continue installation of computer systems to automate the filing of the CTRs and SARs, and have sponsored seminars and conferences for bankers, examiners and regulatory officials on their obligations under the law. The Money Laundering Investigative Unit established in January 1998 within the PGR continues to develop a staff of in-house expert investigators to strengthen the money laundering cases presented to the judiciary. The absence of this type of expert financial investigators and lack of experience throughout the judiciary in applying the money laundering statutes has been a significant roadblock to successful prosecutions.

Mexico is a full and active partner in the U.S./Mexico High-Level Contact Group/ Money Laundering Group. In July 1999, a working level task force integrated by DGAIO, PGR and U.S. Customs and IRS was established to examine ongoing investigations and leads. Mexico and the United States continue to implement their bilateral treaties and agreements for cooperation in law enforcement issues including the MLAT signed in 1987, the Executive Agreement on Asset Sharing, signed in 1995, and the 1994 Financial Information Exchange Agreement (FIEA), signed in 1994. The PGR and the U.S. Department of Justice have initiated four coordinated investigations under the MLAT. In August, new legislation governing the use of seized and forfeited assets went into effect. The law created an office within the Hacienda to administer these assets for law enforcement activities. The law allows for the sharing of assets with third countries. The Mexican Hacienda and the U.S. Treasury Department initiated 16 simultaneous investigations under the FIEA. Of this total, the GOM initiated seven and the USG nine. Mexico and the United States continue to compare data on currency transported across the U.S.-Mexico border as reflected in the currency and monetary instrument reports (CMIRs) required by both countries. In January 1999, the GOM increased the reporting threshold for inbound currency from $10,000 to $20,000. Mexican law does not require the reporting of outbound currency. In December 1999, the Mexican and U.S. Treasury Departments concluded an MOU establishing additional conditions under which the Mexican FIU (DGAIO) and the U.S. FIU (FinCEN) can exchange CMIR information.

Through participation in FATF and the Egmont Group of FIUs, Mexico continues to expand its presence at international anti-money laundering fora. In October 1999, Mexico was accepted as an observer member in the FATF and is scheduled to undergo a mutual evaluation of its anti-money laundering program during March 2000. After the FATF mutual evaluation, Mexico will join the CFATF as a cooperating and supporting nation. Mexico has also expressed interest in assisting in the creation of a FATF-style body for the South American region. The Mexican DGAIO has advised other Western Hemisphere nations on the creation and operation of an FIU.

Despite the legislative and regulatory advances of the past few years and enhanced domestic and international cooperation, weak areas remain that hinder effective implementation of Mexico's anti-money laundering program. The customer identification provisions do not apply to third party beneficiaries, which affects the large volume of transactions made by individuals on behalf of the principal account holder. Some financial institutions are exempt from the CTR record keeping and reporting requirements if the customer is another financial institution, an exemption that affects reporting on licensed casas de cambio. Although the 1998 regulations for the reporting of CTRs and SARs are sufficiently specific, there is still considerable misunderstanding throughout the financial sector of what is required to be reported. The lack of qualified and experienced personnel in the regulatory agencies, and within the banking community to implement and enforce oversight and compliance programs, needs to be addressed. Additional efforts need to be directed towards developing cooperative relationships among law enforcement, financial regulators and the financial sector to reduce vulnerabilities to the financial system.

Moldova (Other). Moldova has conditions favorable to money laundering, and money laundering does occur. However, Moldova is not a regional or international banking center and has an underdeveloped banking system, with little evidence of extensive money laundering. Money laundering is connected mostly to twelve organized crime groups operating in Moldova. Some illegal proceeds generated by crime are laundered through various businesses and invested in commercial enterprises locally or transferred to bank accounts abroad. Local sales of smuggled consumer goods also act as conduits for the laundering of illegal proceeds. Corruption, bribery, and organized are believed to permeate the government from top to bottom.

Moldovan officials are very concerned with illegal proceeds being laundered and invested in their economy. In response, the Moldovan government established the independent Department to Combat Organized Crime and Corruption within the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In 1999, the Parliament approved on first reading a bill to criminalize money laundering. The bill establishes suspicious activity reporting requirements for bank and non-bank financial institutions. The second reading had not occurred at year's end.

The National Bank of Moldova has responsibility for bank oversight and regulation. Sanctions available include imposing fines, appointing temporary administrators, banning certain types of licensed operations, replacement of officials and institutional reorganization. Banks are allowed to maintain nominee accounts, but accurate documentation is required at the time the account is opened. Bank regulations require reporting and recording of any unusual, large or suspicious transactions, or frequent transactions unrelated to the client's normal activity. Financial institutions are required to immediately inform the police and the prosecutor's office of circumstances indicating an illicit transaction. Non-bank financial institutions follow similar guidelines as financial institutions.

Moldovan law enforcement officers have little experience in conducting money-laundering investigations. The passage of the anti-money laundering will facilitate investigations in this area. Thus far, economic and financial crimes investigations have not resulted in any prosecutions, which is attributable to the poor quality of investigation, preparation and documentation.

Moldova is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, and continues its efforts to meet its obligations. International assistance in the money laundering/financial crimes area includes a 1998 U.S. Treasury Department assessment report, which made recommendations aimed at strengthening Moldova's financial crimes/money laundering regime and U.S. Government-funded training on money laundering, economic crime and international financial institution fraud. Moldova also participates in the Southeastern Europe Cooperative Initiative (SECI) programs aimed at suppressing transnational organized crime.

Monaco (Other). The Principality of Monaco is not a major financial center. However, it is considered vulnerable to money laundering because of its strict bank secrecy and its extensive network of casinos. It is remains an attractive tax haven because of its zero income tax and low business taxes. Russian criminal groups launder money in Monaco by purchasing high-priced private and commercial real estate.

There are 37 banks operating in Monaco, with most of the banking sector based on portfolio management and private banking. Monaco also has an offshore sector, and permits the formation of both trust and international business companies (IBCs). Five types of IBCs are permitted: limited liability companies, branches of foreign parent companies, partnerships with limited liability, partnerships with unlimited liability and sole proprietorships. Off-the-shelf (ready made) IBCs are not permitted. Incorporation generally takes 4 to 9 months. Monaco does not maintain a central registry of IBCs.

Money laundering in Monaco is a criminal offense. Monaco tightened its anti-money laundering law in 1994 to require banks, insurance companies and stockbrokers to report suspicious transactions and to disclose the identities of those involved. The law also stipulates that casino operators must alert the government about payments for gambling chips suspected to be derived from drug trafficking or organized crime. Another law imposes a 5-10 year jail sentence for anyone convicted of using ill-gotten gains to purchase property (which is itself subject to confiscation.)

The Monagasque government has established the Service d'Information et de Controle sur les Services Financiers (SICCFIN) to serve as the financial intelligence unit to collect information on suspected money launderers.

Mongolia (Other). Mongolia is neither a financial nor a money laundering center, but organized crime, narcotics and arms trafficking, and smuggling continue to generate illegal proceeds. Mongolia's long borders with Russia and China are difficult to control and Mongolia remains a transit country for contraband. The Mongolian currency, the tugrik, is freely convertible at a floating rate of exchange. There are no restrictions on hard currency deposits, withdrawals, or transfers, although withdrawals of $100,000 or more require 24-hours advance notice (probably just to provide time to gather the currency, not because of law enforcement checks.) Some Mongolian banks have reliable facilities for the transfer of foreign currency abroad. Mongolia has bank secrecy laws, but no details are available.

Mongolian law enforcement officials have, in the past, indicated to their U.S. counterparts that most of Mongolia's enforcement problems are caused by Russia and China, that Mongolia is experiencing an increase in organized crime, drugs and financial crime, and that Russian organized criminal activity has found its way to Mongolia. Financial fraud still occurs, involving illegal money transfers and corruption of public officials, including the police. In 1999, Mongolia prosecuted high-level officials, including three members of parliament, involved in bribery connected with the tendering of a casino operation. The case prompted the Government of Mongolia to enact legislation rescinding the Law on Casinos, making them illegal. While these actions may only touch the surface, they at least demonstrate public awareness and government concern about corruption.

Montserrat (Other). Montserrat, a Caribbean Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom (UK), is still recovering from the devastation wreaked on it by the eruption of its volcano in 1995. The UK has provided over $100 million to Montserrat over the past three years to rebuild its economy.

Prior to the volcano eruption, Montserrat had a small offshore sector. Montserrat's Financial Services Centre provided supervision for both the 21 offshore banks and the international business companies. There is no indication that the offshore sector has yet been revived in Montserrat.

Montserrat is reportedly still in the process of drafting all-crimes legislation that would criminalize all forms of money laundering and increase investigative authority for financial crimes.

Montserrat is a member of the CFATF.

Morocco (Other). There is no indication that money laundering is occurring in Morocco on a major scale. The country is not a regional financial center. Drug trafficking is an important source of illicit funds, which are then believed to be invested in real estate. In addition, the large volume of cash transactions, the absence of any requirement to report suspicious transactions or cross border currency movements, and the nascent offshore banking sector in Tangiers all render Morocco vulnerable to financial crime. At the time of a 1995 FATF mission to Morocco, local Customs officials stated that they believed money was being laundered through the bulk smuggling of cash and the purchase of smuggled goods. However, central bank officials believed that only the system of unregulated money exchanges posed any threat. Morocco has no anti-money laundering law on the books.

The monetary authorities in Morocco are the Ministry of Finance and the central bank, Bank Al Maghrib. The latter is in charge of monitoring and regulating the country's 15 commercial banks and other financial institutions, primarily economic development banks and the stock exchange. Bank Al Maghrib has decreed that all financial institutions must institute a customer identification policy and maintain certain transaction documents for a certain (unspecified) period of time. Bank Al Maghrib is also a private bank and can engage in all private banking activities.

The Government of Morocco (GOM) encourages foreign investment, and to that end established an offshore zone in Tangier in 1992. Three offshore banks and approximately a dozen holding corporations are now operating in the zone. Both have free access to investment activities in Morocco and to capital participation operations in local corporations. Both also are exempt from registration fees, VAT, import duties, and taxes on dividends. Corporate taxes are negotiable. All other taxes for offshore companies are set at $5,000 per year for the first 15 years. For banks, the tax is either $25,000 or 10 per cent of profits.

Morocco is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

The GOM needs to enact anti-money laundering legislation that meets international standards in order to protect itself, in particular its offshore sector, against money laundering and other financial crimes.

Mozambique (Other). Mozambique is not a financial or a money laundering center. Regional money laundering probably does occur involving illegal proceeds generated in Mozambique and neighboring countries. Mozambique is a known transit country for narcotics, alcohol, tobacco, and other consumer good being smuggled into South Africa. Illegal gold and stolen vehicles are smuggled from South Africa into Mozambique, and arms are reportedly smuggled to Angola via Mozambique. It is estimated that 70 per cent of Mozambique's consumer goods are smuggled into the country because of high tariffs and official corruption.

The internal policy of Mozambique's commercial banks is to report transfers abroad which amount to more than $5,000. According to Mozambique's Attorney General, one method criminals use to launder drug or gun-running proceeds is to buy shares of local business enterprises. Proceeds can then be extracted from the businesses in the form of profits, making them appear legitimate.

In early 1997, the Government of Mozambique (GOM) enacted an extensive anti-narcotics law. However, only one of its 94 articles addressed money laundering. The GOM has reportedly been drafting legislation on money laundering and asset seizure, but there is no indication that it has been submitted for approval.

Namibia (Other). Namibia is not a financial center. There are indications of drug trafficking and abuse, but there is no evidence of narcotics trafficking-related money laundering. The Namibian government has been slow to implement anti-drug legislation, but bills reportedly under consideration include a money laundering act and a proceeds of crime bill.

Namibia is not a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Nauru (Primary). Nauru is an independent republic and an associate member of the British Commonwealth which has established an active offshore sector in an attempt to diversify its income base.

According to Nauru's Banking Act of 1975 and banking regulations issued in 1977, banks may be chartered for either resident or non-resident banking activity. The basic difference is where the bank conducts its activity, either within Nauru or abroad. This distinction is meaningless since non-resident banks are allowed to open subsidiary finance companies that provide financial services similar to resident banks. Banking charters may also include insurance licenses since Nauru has no restrictions on the organization of insurance companies. Nauru promotes itself as a base for offshore captive insurance operations. Nauru has no taxes, foreign exchange controls, or capital flow restrictions.

Nauru gained notoriety in 1999 due to allegations by Russian authorities of widespread money laundering through its offshore banking sector. Nauru's non-resident banks appear to be particularly susceptible to money laundering operations. In 1998, according to the Russian Central Bank, Russian financial transactions through accounts of banks chartered in Nauru amounted to $70-80 billion. Nauru's Russian clientele base is built on the desire of businesses to avoid scrutiny by Russian officials. Some of these funds are thought to be criminally derived. Asian and South American clients with alleged ties to organized crime have also been linked to money laundering operations through Nauruan non-resident banks. In 1999, the Russian Central Bank instituted regulatory measures to scrutinize offshore financial transactions involving Nauru and other offshore centers to prevent illegal transactions.

Correspondent bank accounts held by Nauruan non-resident banks in foreign financial institutions figure prominently in elaborate international funds movement schemes. Nauruan non-resident banks attract this level of financial activity primarily because of the ease of setting up the funds transfer mechanisms and the secrecy that Nauruan banks provide. Marketers of offshore services via the Internet promote Nauru as a favored jurisdiction for establishing offshore banks for several reasons, including ease of application, licensing and operation, and lack of government supervision. By their nature, Nauruan non-resident banks are ideal mechanisms in money laundering schemes.

Nauru's corporate statutes, the Corporation Act of 1972 and the Finance Corporation Act of 1972, allow for the formation of either holding or trading corporations. Holding corporations are formed for entities not engaged in commercial or trading activities, whereas trading corporations are formed for entities conducting commercial transactions. Holding corporations may be established by up to 20 shareholders and must remain closed to the public. Shareholder identities remain statutorily confidential, and holding corporations may issue bearer shares. For added confidentiality, holding corporations may be incorporated through the Nauru Government Commercial Authority, which is headed by a government-appointed commissioner. Trading corporations may be owned by holding corporations. Corporations may be formed within 48 hours following receipt of required forms by a registration agent. Annual meetings of Nauruan corporations need not take place in Nauru. Nauruan statutes prohibit the inspection of holding corporation records for regulatory or enforcement purposes.

Nauru's Trustee Corporation Act of 1972 governs the execution or administration of wills and trusts. The Act is patterned on the United Kingdom model with a few differences. These include provisions for irrevocable trusts, no restrictions on disposition of income, and the availability of purpose trusts. The Nauru Trustee Corporation may act as executor of wills for residents and non-residents alike.

The government-owned Bank of Nauru acts as the central bank for monetary policy only; it has no regulatory function over offshore banks. Nauruan authorities are unable to verify the information provided by applicants for offshore banking licenses or those registering corporations on the island. The required documentation is routinely processed through registered agents. A number of these registered agents advertise through the Internet, offering to provide all required documentation, including professional references and bank references from internationally known U.S. banks and investment companies. Even though the bank application requires a certified police record stating that the applicant has no criminal record, Nauruan authorities do not have the ability to check the bona fides of such documents.

Nauru has draft anti-money laundering legislation under consideration for all serious offenses. The legislation, however, has no requirement to report suspicious transactions and no central authority to monitor the criminal abuse of its financial system. Incorporation statutes have created a system of strict privacy and confidentiality to ensure the anonymity of customer and beneficial account owners. The statute preventing the inspection of holding corporation records obstructs international efforts to investigate and prosecute money launderers. Nauru does not participate in any international anti-money laundering fora, nor has it signed any bilateral agreements to exchange information to assist in criminal investigations and prosecutions for money laundering offenses.

Nauru officials indicated in January 2000 that they were willing to introduce reforms into the regulation of their offshore sector that would bring them into compliance with the FATF Forty Recommendations.

Nauru needs to enact and implement anti-money laundering legislation that meets international standards to protect its financial services industry from financial crimes and money launderers. Particular emphasis needs to be directed to its offshore financial center, which lacks prudential bank supervisory oversight.

Nepal (Other). Money laundering in Nepal is believed to be connected primarily with tax evasion by Indians, and, to a lesser extent, narcotics trafficking. It is possible that Indian nationals may, to some extent, be using the casinos located in the five-star hotels in Kathmandu to evade Indian income tax. However, it is unlikely that these casinos are used for any significant money laundering activities, based on the small size of the casinos and the strict Rastra Bank (Nepal's central bank) regulations that control the magnitude of the casinos' foreign exchange activities.

The Government of Nepal (GON) has drafted anti-money laundering legislation, but it has not passed, and there are no indications as to when this will happen. Nepal has no entity serving as a financial intelligence unit.

The GON is continuing with its plans to establish an offshore financial services center in Kathmandu. The objective of the Nepal International Finance Center (Nepal IFC) is to stimulate economic development in Nepal through access to new sources of capital and the transfer of financial skills. The GON is working closely with private consultants and various government agencies to ensure prudent supervision of the IFC. Since Nepal has yet to enact its anti-money laundering legislation or implement an anti-money laundering regime, special steps are being taken to make the Center unattractive to potential money launderers. The law facilitating the creation of a center may be based on the International Banking Act currently in draft.

The GON needs to pass and implement anti-money laundering legislation that meets international standards in order to protect its financial institutions from money laundering and other financial crimes.

The Netherlands (Primary). The Netherlands serves a major transit point for narcotics entering Europe and is a major producer and exporter of drugs. Besides narcotics trafficking, another significant source of criminal proceeds laundered in The Netherlands is financial fraud committed within European Union member countries. The primary money laundering methods used in The Netherlands include cross border transportation of cash, the use of money transfer businesses, and exchange bureaus. Dutch authorities are concerned about the increase in the use of The Netherlands as a money laundering location and as a transit country for questionable proceeds from the former Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries.

The Netherlands criminalized money laundering by making the following crimes of the Netherlands Penal Code of February 2, 1994 applicable to money laundering: Articles 416 (intentional receiving), Article 417 (habitual receiving), and 417 bis (negligent receiving, should have reasonably suspected). The money laundering provisions apply to proceeds derived from any crime under Dutch law.

The Disclosures of Unusual Transactions (Financial Services) Act of 16 December 1993 and the Identification (Financial Services) Act of 16 December 1993 codify the FATF Forty Recommendations. These laws contain provisions for customer identification, recordkeeping requirements, suspicious transaction reporting, the creation of the financial intelligence unit, and internal anti-money laundering procedures and training for all Dutch financial institutions, non-bank financial institutions and casinos.

The Office for the Disclosure of Unusual Transactions (MOT) is The Netherlands's financial intelligence unit that came into existence on 1 February 1994 with the promulgation of the Disclosures of Unusual Transactions (Financial Services) Act.

The purpose of the Disclosures of Unusual Transactions Act is to maintain the integrity of the financial sector through the prevention of money laundering and through combating laundering itself. MOT is an administrative organ under the general leadership, organization, and control of The Netherlands Minister of Justice. The organization carries out this mission by receiving disclosures of unusual transactions. The MOT determines whether unusual transaction reports are suspicious, gathers preliminary investigative information, and provides the reports so designated to the National Public Prosecutor. The MOT fulfills an advisory role to the Dutch government and a liaison role to government agencies, financial institutions, and the public on money laundering information.

MOT consists of fifteen personnel. Eleven of these are permanent employees consisting of analysts, research experts, a financial specialist, data entry and administrative personnel, and managers. Three of the remaining personnel are contractors who are primarily responsible for information technology.

MOT has entered into information exchange agreements (memoranda of understanding or other types of accords) with foreign counterpart agencies or police organizations in a number of countries. MOT is a member of the Egmont Group.

The United States and The Netherlands have fully operational extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties. Bilateral cooperation on money laundering is strong. The Netherlands is an active member of the FATF.

The Netherlands has a comprehensive anti-money laundering regime that meets FATF standards and is subject to a continuous process of evaluation and enhancement. The strength of its anti-money laundering measures has resulted in effective prosecutions of money launderers and could serve as a model for other countries.

Netherlands Antilles (Primary). The Netherlands Antilles is comprised of Curacao, Bonaire, the Dutch part of Sint Maarten/St. Martin, Saba and Sint Eustatius. The islands are becoming increasingly vulnerable to money laundering because of a growing offshore sector and the presence of the gaming industry (which is not subject to any anti-money laundering regulations or control). The lack of border controls between Sint Maarten and the French St. Martin, and the absence of any cross border reporting system for cash or monetary instruments, pose additional risks.

The Netherlands Antilles remains diligent in attempting to deter money laundering. The Government is currently in the process of determining how to ensure that casinos and unlicensed remittance agents incorporate stringent anti-money laundering controls. A new asset seizure law has entered into effect, but the legal community questions whether the burden of proof should be shifted to make it easier to obtain ultimate forfeiture. As the law now stands, the prosecution must prove that the defendant knew the assets came from illegal activities in addition to proving the underlying crime. The islands enacted comprehensive anti-money laundering legislation mandating the creation of a reporting center (MOT NA) to collect and analyze unusual transactions. There are also know-your-customer requirements as well as reporting and record-keeping requirements. Criminals who would use the Netherlands Antilles to launder money are probably not significantly deterred by the money laundering laws because standards for proving the underlying crime standard are so difficult to meet. The banking community, however, does seem to have changed its practices. Indications are that banks are taking fairly burdensome steps to ensure that they are in compliance with reporting requirements.

The staff at the MOT NA, though tiny, is exceptionally dedicated. The reporting center is burdened by the fact that it must process reports of all unusual transactions, which are far more numerous than reports of suspicious transactions. As a result, the MOT NA risks being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of reports of unusual transactions. (Unusual transactions consist of all transactions that are not in the norm, whereas suspicious transactions are those deemed to be connected with money laundering because of certain indicators.) Another difficulty for the reporting center is that the money laundering law requires proof of any underlying crime. That standard has so far proven impossible for police, who lack the sophisticated methods to build a successful case. Finally, the MOT NA must enter information obtained from police and public registers and databases manually, which is extremely time-consuming and allows the possibility of input error.

The Netherlands Antilles has a large number of offshore financial service providers, including over 50 offshore banks, mutual funds, international finance companies, and approximately 43 trust companies. Nearly 21,000 international business companies are registered in the Netherlands Antilles. The law on bank supervision states that offshore banks must have a physical presence on the islands, retain their records there, and not give or receive payments in cash. The offshore banks are supervised by the central bank, and some mutual funds are supervised by other entities. None of the other institutions are subject to supervisory oversight by any Netherlands Antilles authorities.

As part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles is a member of the FATF, and underwent a second mutual evaluation report by the FATF in January 1999. The Netherlands Antilles is also a leading participant in the CFATF. The MOT NA is a member of the Egmont Group.

The Government of the Netherlands Antilles (GONA) has implemented most of its anti-money laundering program. However, it is imperative that anti-money laundering measures be enacted for casinos as soon as possible. Customer identification and unusual transaction reporting requirements for casinos need to be established, and measures put in place to assure that the beneficial owner and the manager of the casino are approved and checked by the competent authorities. The GONA should enact a cross-border currency reporting system for reporting cash or monetary instruments entering or exiting the Netherlands Antilles. It should also be encouraged to devote more funding to the MOT NA, so that the unit can hire more personnel to analyze the volumes of unusual transactions, and obtain electronic access to police and public registers.

New Zealand (Other). There is evidence that money laundering activity takes place in New Zealand (although not to a significant extent) and that commercial crime and narcotics proceeds play a role in these operations. New Zealand funds are not believed to be used significantly for the laundering of funds derived internationally. There is evidence of the presence of international organized criminal elements in New Zealand.

New Zealand criminalized money laundering in 1995 with an amendment to the Crimes Act 1961. The Act covers two offenses: engaging in a money laundering transaction with knowledge that the property at issue has resulted from the commission of a serious offense; and possession of property knowingly gained through the commission of a serious offense for the purposes of money laundering. The amendment offers a safe harbor provision to those who disclose transactions to the authorities.

New Zealand is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. It is a member of the FATF, the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, and the South Pacific Forum. It has a financial intelligence unit that participates in the Egmont Group.

Nicaragua (Other). Nicaragua's financial sector is very small. While the extent of money laundering is unknown, the country is not a money laundering center. However, Nicaragua is considered vulnerable to money laundering because of the presence of drug trafficking and a lack of resources to combat it. Nicaragua may be a physical transshipment route for money, with the contraband secreted in motor vehicles, aircraft and appliances.

Legislation enacted in 1994 put in place some anti-money laundering measures, and a series of laws since then have expanded the scope. Drug-related money laundering has been criminalized, and the law now provides for the seizure and forfeiture of drug-related proceeds. The law requires banks to report transactions exceeding $10,000 to a government commission, which also was tasked with detecting, analyzing and proposing ways to combat money laundering. The law also lifted bank secrecy for narcotics investigations.

A proposed comprehensive anti-drug law would tighten reporting requirements and extend coverage to a wide range of financial institutions, including credit unions, stock exchanges, savings and loan cooperatives, exchange houses, credit card operations, and casinos, which would have to identify their customers, maintain records for five years, and make records available for investigations. Individuals would be required to report cross-border inbound (but not outbound) currency transfers exceeding $10,000. However, the bill does not require the reporting of suspicious transactions, nor would it lift the provision limiting money laundering statutes to drug trafficking offenses.

Nicaragua became a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention in 1990. Nicaragua is a member of the CFATF. The country has a counternarcotics cooperation agreement with Cuba.

Nigeria (Primary). The Federal Republic of Nigeria continues to be the money laundering and financial fraud hub of West Africa, and may be assuming that role for the entire continent. Nigerian money launderers operate sophisticated global networks to repatriate illicit proceeds from narcotics trafficking, various types of fraud schemes (including advance fee, document, immigration, insurance and entitlement frauds), theft and resale of automobiles, and the manufacturing and distribution of counterfeit U.S. currency.

Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud has arguably become the most lucrative financial crime committed by Nigerian criminals worldwide, with conservative estimates indicating hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit profits generated annually. This type of fraud is referred to internationally as "Four-One-Nine" (419), referring to the Nigerian criminal statute for fraud, and has affected a large number of American citizens and businesses. Typically, the intended target receives a fax or letter from an "official" associated with a wide variety of Nigerian government or business departments. The correspondence is aimed at enticing the victim into a money laundering, will beneficiary, currency, COD for goods/services, or a crude oil purchase scheme. The government of Nigeria (GON) has taken some measures to counter these schemes, and in 1998 began closely cooperating with U.S. officials, including the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, to identify and crack down on these frauds, as they are perpetrated through mail systems. The GON reportedly arrested over 100 individuals in 1998, and the Bank of Nigeria has issued an official advisory, which it maintains on its website, detailing advance fee frauds and warning consumers away from such "too good to be true" fraud schemes.

Nigeria has not made major changes in its anti-money laundering legislation since Money Laundering Decree No. 3 became law in 1995. This decree criminalizes drug money laundering; requires banks to identify customers and maintain records; and requires the reporting of suspicious transactions, foreign transfers of more than $10,000 and large transactions ($5,300 for an individual and $21,000 for a corporation) to the central bank. It mandates that all transactions above $5,300 be conducted through banks, and prohibits structuring transactions to avoid reporting requirements. It also requires banks to develop programs, including compliance units, to counter money laundering. The decree extends all these requirements to non-bank financial institutions. In 1996 the central bank issued guidance notes for banks reiterating these requirements, which includes a typologies list of potentially suspicious transactions.

Implementation of the decree is split between the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Money Laundering Surveillance Unit (MLSU) of the Bank Examination Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The required reports are forwarded to both offices.

NDLEA is the enforcement agency, but due to its drug enforcement charter, requires a drug nexus prior to initiating an investigation. As a consequence, non drug-related instances of money laundering are frequently not investigated. Corruption and a weak judicial system frequently stymie NDLEA attempts to prosecute narcotics and money laundering cases, especially in cases involving prominent suspects.

The Ministry of Justice has received the authorities and responsibilities of the abolished Miscellaneous Offenses Tribunal to prosecute money laundering.

The Money Laundering Decree provides for the seizure of property and assets of suspected narcotics trafficking and money laundering organizations. Forfeiture must, however, be preceded by a conviction in a court of law. Despite some seizures, there have been no prosecutions. Some of the seized assets were conditionally returned to their owners, who were nearly all free on bail.

Despite this, the government of President Obasanjo is making headway against money laundering. It is assisting in a major anti-money laundering investigation involving the overseas assets of the late General Sani Abacha and his cohorts. General Abacha, the last military dictator of Nigeria, allegedly systematically embezzled money from Nigeria's central bank through a system of false invoices and placed it in nearly 200 accounts in Switzerland and other countries. Documents furnished to Swiss authorities indicated Abacha authorized the transfer of money to overseas accounts in his name and in the names of 14 others. The network of fictitious accounts, commissions and kickbacks allegedly helped funnel as much as $2.2 billion out of Nigeria. At the request of the government of President Obasanjo, the Swiss government has identified and frozen the assets in the accounts and started its own investigation. The current reported value of the assets in these Swiss accounts exceeds $645 million, and Nigeria is seeking the return of the money at the completion of the Nigerian and Swiss investigations. Stolen funds have also shown up in accounts in Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, and possibly France. This is, hopefully, step one in a series of money laundering investigations of prominent yet criminally oriented citizens by the government.

However, Nigeria still needs to amend its legislation to criminalize money laundering beyond narcotics and include reporting of cross border movements of currency. It needs to develop and fund a strong law enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance with anti money laundering laws, and increase resources to crack down on international fraud schemes. The GON should also establish a centralized unit to receive and analyze information and work directly with foreign counterparts to cooperate in investigations and protect its financial system from the abuse of criminals and criminal organizations. This will be a tall and encompassing order given the success and prominence of Nigerian criminal organizations.

Niue (Concern). Niue is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in free association with New Zealand. In an effort to diversify its agricultural economy and boost revenues, Niue established an offshore financial center with the adoption of a series of laws in 1994. Niue's thriving offshore financial sector has been linked with the laundering of criminal proceeds from Russia and South America, especially through the use of its International Business Companies (IBCs). In 1999, the Russian Central Bank instituted regulatory measures to scrutinize offshore financial transactions involving Niue and other offshore centers to prevent illegal financial transactions.

Although IBCs are the most attractive feature of Niue's offshore sector, Niue also offers trusts, partnerships, financial management, and insurance services. Banks and insurance companies registered in Niue require annual audits and are subject to other supervisory controls. Niuean asset protection trusts are strong in that a court may set aside or reverse the transfer of assets only if fraud or duress can be proven. Added asset protection includes the ability to transfer domicile.

The International Business Companies Act of 1994 is the legislative basis for establishing IBCs. Marketers of offshore services via the Internet promote Niue as a favored jurisdiction for establishing IBCs for a variety of reasons. Niue does not require the disclosure of beneficial ownership, permits bearer shares, allows the marketing of shelf companies, and does not allow public access to registers of IBC directors or managers. In addition, IBC names may be incorporated in Chinese, Cyrillic, or other languages. Niuean IBCs have all the powers of a natural person. Internet marketers offer shelf companies, complete with associated offshore bank accounts and maildrop forwarding services. These features make Niuean IBCs ideal mechanisms for money laundering schemes.

The Offshore Banking Act of 1994 allows for three types of offshore banking licenses. Class A offshore banks are permanently established in Niue. Class B licenses may transact business only through a trustee company and in specified currencies. Class C licenses are granted to international companies and, unless granted an exception, must conduct business through a resident director. All offshore banks are subject to financial audits and must produce accounting records, share registers, transaction ledgers, and any other records upon request of a bank inspector.

Niue has draft anti-money laundering legislation under consideration for all serious offenses. However, the legislation contains no requirement to report suspicious transactions and does not provide for a central authority to monitor the criminal abuse of its financial system. Although offshore banks are subject to supervision by the Niue Monetary Board, audits are not conducted for anti-money laundering purposes. Niue's offshore corporate sector was designed with a minimum of government oversight, which prevents effective regulation. Niue does not participate in any international anti-money laundering fora, nor has it signed any bilateral agreements to exchange information to assist in criminal investigations and prosecutions for money laundering offenses.

Niue needs to enact and implement anti-money laundering legislation that meets international standards in order to protect its financial services industry from financial crimes and money launderers. Particular emphasis needs to be directed to its offshore financial center, which lacks prudential supervisory oversight.

Norway (Other). Norway is not a major financial center. There are only 20 commercial banks and about 130 savings banks serving a population of 4.5 million. Norway has no offshore sector, nor does it have casinos. Money laundering in Norway is related primarily to funds generated by the smuggling of liquor and cigarettes. According to OKOKRIM, Norway's Special Unit on Economic Crime, the country has experienced an increase in financial crime such as bank fraud following liberalization of the country's financial markets in the early 1990s.

Most money laundering in Norway takes place outside the bank and non-bank financial systems, since all financial institutions are required by law to report large or suspicious transactions to OKOKRIM. Records must be kept for five years. Structuring deposits (breaking them up into smaller amounts to circumvent reporting requirements) appears to be a problem for financial institutions. Large cross border money transfers conducted by banks are routinely reported to the Norwegian Central Cank and kept on record.

All forms of money laundering are a criminal offense in Norway, according to the Norwegian Penal Code. Legislation has been strengthened over the past few years to conform to the FATF Forty Recommendations. OKOKRIM has set up a money laundering unit that receives suspicious transaction reports and serves as Norway's financial intelligence unit.

Norway is a member of the FATF and the Council of Europe. OKOKRIM is a member of the Egmont Group.

Oman (Other). Oman is not known to have a significant money laundering problem. Its small banking sector is lightly supervised by the Central Bank of Oman (CBO), which does have the authority to suspend or reorganize a bank's operations. The CBO also supervises the Omani insurance industry and the network of currency exchange houses. Several years ago the CBO issued a circular to a wide range of financial institutions advising that they report all suspicious transactions to the CBO and to the Omani police, but it is not known if any such reports have actually been filed. There are no known cases of money laundering under investigation in Oman.

Cash transactions are common in Oman, as is the hawala/hundi remittance system used by expatriate workers in Oman to transfer money to their homelands.

Oman is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and is a member of the GCC, which holds membership in the FATF.

In order to reduce its vulnerability to financial crime, Oman should enact legislation to criminalize money laundering and require the reporting of suspicious transactions to a central organization.

Pakistan (Primary). There are three principal sources of illicit funds in Pakistan: narcotics trafficking, corruption and smuggling. Narcotics trafficking proceeds come from the transshipment of narcotics produced in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan. Traffickers dealing in these narcotics operate all over the world, and the money laundering schemes associated with these trafficking operations are similarly global in nature. Large amounts of money are laundered, although the majority of the laundering takes place outside of Pakistan. Finally, many, if not all, of these schemes use the hawala (also called "hundi") alternative remittance system.

There are longstanding allegations of large- scale corruption and money laundering against former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her husband, Ali Asif Zardari. Bhutto is under investigation in several jurisdictions. It is possible that Bhutto could have used a combination of techniques to launder money, including moving money to international financial centers in Europe and the Middle East as well as hawala. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, deposed by a military coup led by General Parvez Musharraf, is also accused of corruption.

Many goods are smuggled across the relatively porous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. For example, a smuggler will import goods into Afghanistan, which has low duties, and then smuggle them into Pakistan, which has high duties. He thus saves money on duties and sells the goods on the black market in Pakistan. In other cases, the goods are simply brought into Pakistan and sold. Smuggling operations may also involve the laundering of the proceeds of smuggling. Gold smuggling, often associated with hawala, is also an issue in Pakistan.

Pakistan has criminalized the laundering of the proceeds of narcotics trafficking. The Control of Narcotics Substances Act (1996) calls for the reporting of transactions believed to be associated with narcotics trafficking and also contains provisions for the freezing and forfeiture of assets associated with narcotics trafficking. New ordinances have been established by the Musharraf caretaker government addressing various financial crimes, particularly tax evasion and corruption. To date, few if any reports of narcotics-related transactions have been received, and it is too soon to evaluate the effectiveness of the new ordinances.

Pakistani banks are tightly regulated in many ways (e.g. account opening procedures-in addition to providing identification, a prospective customer needs an introduction or reference in order to be permitted to open the account), and it does not appear that they play a major role in money laundering schemes in Pakistan. The "hawala trade", however, which is part of the "black" economy in Pakistan, is completely unregulated and is used for many licit and illicit transactions. Estimates of the size of Pakistan's "black" economy place it as being from one half to equal in size to the "white" economy, so a comparable estimate could be made of the magnitude of hawala transactions. Pakistani hawaladars (hawala operators or brokers) are known to work closely with counterparts in the Middle East (particularly Dubai in the United Arab Emirates), the United States and Europe.

Pakistan does not offer offshore services.

Pakistan does not have a financial intelligence. Several agencies, most particularly the Anti-Narcotics Force and Pakistan Customs, play a major role in the investigation of financial crimes cases in Pakistan.

In past years, Pakistani authorities, most particularly senior officials in the Anti-Narcotics Force, had expressed an interest in developing a working relationship with the United States on money laundering.

The most significant money laundering cases involving Pakistan are the ongoing investigations of former Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistan needs to do several things to establish an effective anti-money laundering regime. First, it needs to enact legislation that fully criminalizes money laundering beyond drug trafficking. Second, Pakistan needs to mandate and implement a system of reporting of suspicious transactions by all financial institutions in Pakistan. Finally, given the major role that hawala transactions play in money laundering in Pakistan, "anti-hawala" countermeasures need to be developed and implemented.

Palau (Other). The Republic of Palau is not known as a money laundering haven. There have been no credible reports of any substantial money laundering activity's taking place in Palau. In late 1998 legislation was introduced which would have permitted the establishment of shell offshore holding companies with strict secrecy provisions. However, the President of Palau vetoed the legislation in early 1999, after visiting experts from the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia provided briefings on the various pitfalls involved in establishing offshore centers. Attempts by both Palauans and outsiders to establish offshore banks in Palau have failed as well.

The Government of Palau (GOP) has said that it remains interested in having Palau become an international financial center. However, the GOP has assured U.S. officials that it will consult fully with the United States and with experts from other countries in this matter.

In December 1999, reacting to allegations by the Central Bank of Russia of improprieties within the offshore banking sector, several international banks refused to process financial transactions from Palau, Nauru, and Vanuatu. This action sparked an initiative by the GOP to establish a national banking review commission to review future banking initiatives. This new commission has moved quickly to begin developing national banking laws.

Palau has signed on to Pacific Island Forum anti-money laundering initiatives. The United States has urged Palau to become more involved with the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering and with the FATF, and along with other countries and institutions has offered assistance to Palau in the development of sound banking systems.

Panama (Primary). Panama is a major financial center, and as such is vulnerable to money laundering. Several factors make Panama an extremely attractive target for money launderers: Panama's international banking center, which has been long established as a tax haven; its operation of the world's second-largest free trade zone, the Col�n Free Zone (CFZ); the country's dollar-based economy; and a proximity to major drug producing neighbors. Panama has financial institutions that engage in currency transactions involving international narcotics proceeds that include significant amounts of U.S. dollars.

Only drug-related money laundering is a crime in Panama. The Government of Panama (GOP) has enacted anti-money laundering legislation that provides for know-your-customer requirements and reporting requirements for unusual currency transactions and those exceeding $10,000 for banks and non-bank financial institutions (including CFZ businesses, export processing zone businesses, finance companies, savings & loan institutions, insurance and reinsurance companies, remittance firms, exchange houses, stock brokerages, casinos, and the national lottery). The law also provides safe haven protection for bank officials who report suspicious transactions and provides punishment for offenders. It permits GOP cooperation in investigations initiated by third party governments and authorizes the tracing, freezing and forfeiture of assets related to money laundering. Most non-drug criminal activities associated with money laundering, such as intellectual property rights fraud, international trafficking in arms, stolen vehicles, etc., and which generate multiple millions in proceeds, are not covered by current Panamanian money laundering legislation.

The prosecution of money laundering cases in Panama is narrowly focused and legally arduous, requiring a criminal prosecution to prove that the money seized was obtained from specific drug trafficking transactions. A succession of Panamanian governments has thus far failed to show the political will to amend the law to facilitate prosecutions. In 1999 the GOP, under former President Balladeres, promised to amend Panama's money laundering law to criminalize money laundering beyond drugs and to provide for information exchange with other countries. The U.S. Government understands that the Balladeres administration had drafted an amended anti-money laundering law. In September 1999, a new administration, under President Moscoso, assumed office in Panama. To date, the amended anti-money laundering law has not been enacted.

Panama's banking law, enacted in June 1998, was a major achievement. The law created a Superintendency of Banks to serve as the supreme bank regulatory and supervisory entity, defined the types of banking licenses available, and set capital adequacy and liquidity levels. It also authorized foreign supervisory entities, under prior agreement with the Superintendency, to inspect the branch offices of foreign banks in Panama, which are subject to consolidated supervision. The Superintendency has the authority to grant banking licenses, to request information and periodic reports from banks, and to reorganize and even close banks. Banking licenses fall into two categories: general licenses for local and foreign operations, and international licenses for Panama's approximately 28 offshore banks. Panama has a large offshore sector, including more than 350,000 international business companies registered within its jurisdiction.

Panama adopted legislation on captive insurance companies (also called offshore insurance companies) by means of Law No. 60 of July 31, 1996. Captive insurance has become one of the most important sectors of the offshore financial industry, second only to banking. Captive insurance companies are corporate entities created and controlled by a parent company, professional association or group of businesses. The captive insurance company provides insurance for the parent, association or group as an alternative to purchasing insurance on the conventional market. Under Panamanian law, captive insurance companies must be authorized by the Superintendency of Insurance and Reinsurance of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Captive insurance companies may insure or reinsure only the risks approved by the Superintendency. They may not insure or reinsure local risks pertaining to individuals or companies resident in Panama. Before a captive insurance company can be incorporated, it must request from the Superintendency of Insurance and Reinsurance authorization to adopt the articles of incorporation to organize the company as Panamanian or to register a foreign company in Panama to act as the captive insurance company. If the company intends to carry out the insurance of general risks, the required paid-up capital is $150,000. If the company intends to carry out insurance of long-term risks, the paid-up capital is $250,000.

Panama has established a financial analysis unit, the UAF. The UAF reports directly to the President of Panama, and the Director of Panama's UAF serves as the national coordinator for all money laundering affairs in Panama. The UAF gained a new Director as a result of the change in Panama's administration this year. The UAF gets seven or eight unusual transaction reports a month, which are used for developing cases. To date, the UAF has referred 20 cases for prosecution. The process is cumbersome: the referral must go from the UAF through the National Security Council (NSC) to the President's Office, and then to prosecutors in the Public Ministry (Attorney General's Office). This has been the main reason why Panama has not yet fully prosecuted a single money laundering case.

Panama's UAF was one of the first units in the region to be admitted to the Egmont Group in 1998. Panama has officially agreed to host the Egmont Plenary in May 2000. However, Egmont is still awaiting the official word from the new GOP.

In August, Panama hosted the "Third Hemispheric Congress on the Prevention of Money Laundering," organized by the UAF and the Panama Banking Association. Officials and experts from Latin America, the U.S. and Europe gathered to focus on money laundering issues.

Panama is a member of the CFATF, the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, and the Offshore Group of Bank Supervisors. An MLAT and a Financial Information Exchange Agreement are in effect between Panama and the United States.

The GOP should be encouraged to amend its anti-money laundering law to criminalize non drug-related money laundering offenses. It should also authorize the UAF to share information with its foreign counterparts in order to strengthen Panama's anti-money laundering program and to be a fully participating member of Egmont. The GOP also needs to change its law so that when sufficient information about a money laundering case is available, it can be sent directly to the prosecutors. If Panama lacks the will to remove the NSC from the case review process, the NSC should start turning the cases over for prosecution-Panama has had no prosecutable cases in three years. Another important next step will be for the Banking Superintendency to draft implementing regulations for the 1998 banking law; this is expected to take place by mid-2000. Panama needs to be able to demonstrate that its anti-money laundering laws are effective through the successful prosecution of, and cooperation with foreign authorities in, major money laundering cases.

Paraguay (Primary). Paraguay continues to be an attractive money laundering venue due to its status as a transit country for cocaine trafficking, its weak regulation of the formal financial sector, slow implementation of its money laundering law, and endemic official corruption. The multi-billion dollar re-export sector and the absence of regulation of the informal sector that services the contraband economy facilitate money laundering. Illicit funds also result from tax evasion and capital flight from Argentina and Brazil.

Although narcotics-related laundering does exist, most laundering is fueled by the regional contraband trade, centered in Ciudad del Este, generating $4-14 billion according to U.S. estimates. Illicit funds are then laundered through Paraguayan financial institutions or across the border through Brazilian businesses and financial institutions.

Paraguay does not license offshore banks, although foreign banks are registered in Paraguay and non-residents are allowed to hold accounts. But all banks are supervised under the same regulations by the Paraguayan authorities. Until recently, Paraguay was considered an important tax haven, mainly for Brazilian deposits, as there is no personal income tax in Paraguay. However, major bank failures in 1995-98 have made Paraguay a less attractive center for foreign deposits.

Paraguay's anti-money laundering law 1015/97 (Preventing and Suppressing Illegal Acts Committed for the Purpose of Laundering Money or Assets), promulgated in January 1997, criminalized money laundering related to drug trafficking and other serious crimes. But since tax evasion and contraband smuggling are not classified as serious crimes, the laundering of their proceeds is not prohibited under the new law. The law mandated the reporting of suspicious financial transactions, set currency transaction record-keeping requirements, provided for cooperation with international law enforcement, permitted asset forfeiture, and established know-your-customer provisions for banks and other financial institutions.

The SENAD (Secretar�a Nacional Anti Drogas) is the lead investigative agency on money laundering and is responsible for the enforcement of the Paraguayan anti-money laundering law. It contains a dependent investigating arm, the Financial Crimes Investigative Unit (FCIU), to investigate specific criminal offenses related to money laundering. The new law also established SEPRELAD (Secretar�a de Prevenci�n del Lavado de Dinero y Bienes) as an independent and principal policy making organization on money laundering, responsible for the implementation of the law. The SEPRELAD includes an inter-agency Financial Analysis Unit (FAU) as the country's financial intelligence unit (FIU). It is charged with receiving, analyzing, and processing disclosures of suspicious transactions. When the FAU determines that there are reasonable grounds to warrant an investigation, its findings are forwarded to the SENAD's FCIU for the actual investigation.

During the early part of 1998, Paraguay's FAU appeared to be making progress in obtaining personnel and equipment, and in June 1998, it was officially recognized by the Egmont Group of FIUs. It received several thousand SARs that resulted in investigations leading to two criminal convictions. But budgetary concerns stalled operations of the FAU in 1998-it lacked a permanent staff, equipment, and a permanent location. In 1999, the FAU moved to semi-permanent office space that is too small to accommodate the present staff of 6 officers and the more than $50,000 in computer equipment that the U.S. Government procured. The FAU will have to move from these offices within a year as it plans to expand its staff to 14 in the future. SEPRELAD still lacks a budget.

SEPRELAD reported that it received an additional 3,300 SARS in 1999, bringing the total to approximately 5,500 since 1997. It indicated that a total of 55 SARs were forwarded to SEPRELAD for analysis in 1999.

The Government of Paraguay (GOP) has the legal tools, technical equipment, and agencies in place to combat money laundering. However, it must still take additional measures to fully fund and staff these agencies and fully implement its anti-money laundering law. Only then will the GOP be able to fully cooperate with other FIUs, and to investigate and successfully counter money laundering and financial crimes.

Peru (Concern). Peru is not a regional financial or offshore center and has not developed into a major money laundering haven. However, narcotics-related money laundering does occur. Peruvian Government officials have expressed concern over a recent increase in Peruvian and U.S. counterfeit currency in their national commerce.

Money laundering has been a crime in Peru since 1991, but only when it is related to drug trafficking or narco-terrorism. Additional anti-money laundering provisions were introduced with the passage on December 6, 1996 of The General Law of the Financial and Insurance System and the Organic Law of the Superintendency of Banking and Insurance (No. 26702), and its implementing regulations that went into effect in July 1998. This Financial Law requires banks and other financial institutions to identify clients and to report unusual and suspicious financial transactions to the Attorney General's office (Fiscalia), with a copy to the Superintendency of Banks. Financial institutions are complying with the reporting requirements, and the Fiscalia has allowed the Financial Investigations Unit (FIU), located within the Peruvian National Police, access to its information. The FIU researches and analyzes the information to determine if the transactions have a narcotics connection. The Financial Law had also required the reporting of large (over $10,000) currency transactions, but this requirement was suspended under pressure from the banking sector.

Peru remains an active participant in the OAS/CICAD and is demonstrating a commitment to implement an anti-money laundering system that would meet international standards. Peruvian and U.S. officials have met to set the groundwork for developing a program that will include broader laws, comprehensive yet enforceable regulations for the financial sector, and the creation of a financial intelligence unit. New anti-money laundering legislation may be presented to the Peruvian Congress when it reconvenes in March 2000. In drafting a new comprehensive law, the Government of Peru should consider including requirements for the recording and reporting by financial institutions of large currency transactions, so that the information can be made available to law enforcement authorities upon request.

Peru is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Philippines (Concern). A combination of rising crime, pervasive corruption, and the absence of effective legislation make the Philippines vulnerable to money laundering activity. The absence of anti-money laundering legislation and strict bank secrecy regime allow for criminal proceeds to be easily laundered the Philippines or transferred abroad. The Philippines has experienced an increase in foreign organized crime activity from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Philippine drug lords are known to launder and invest their proceeds in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Insurgency groups operating in the Philippines fund their activities through narcotics and arms trafficking, and engage in money laundering through alleged ties to organized crime.

The major sources of criminal proceeds are trafficking in narcotics, arms, and women. The Philippines is a source country for marijuana and a destination and transshipment point for methamphetamines from China. Other sources of criminal proceeds include gambling, organized crime, prostitution, smuggling, intellectual property counterfeiting, and corruption. Criminal proceeds are laundered through a variety of businesses such as nightclubs, pawnshops, currency exchanges, credit institutions, casinos and other gambling establishments. Many smaller cash-intensive businesses are known fronts for laundering criminal proceeds, primarily from narcotics trafficking. Many of the owners of these businesses have suspected ties to narcotics traffickers, and their clientele base cannot account for the level of business receipts.

Public and private corruption is rife. Public dissatisfaction with the current administration's inability to counter it has made corruption a national election campaign issue. Official corruption is endemic throughout all levels of government, as well as within the enforcement sector. Official corruption plays a major role facilitating criminal activity and in obstructing investigations. A related issue is the state of readiness of the Philippines' enforcement agencies. Although staffing levels appear to be adequate, pay is low and equipment is in short supply. Corruption is also a major concern in the country's free trade zones. Lax immigration and customs controls provide a refuge for international criminal activity to thrive.

The Philippines has not criminalized money laundering nor enacted anti-money laundering legislation. The proceeds of crime can be seized only during the investigation of predicate offenses, usually at the scene of the crime for evidentiary purposes. Bank secrecy is exceptionally strong. According to bank secrecy provisions, a bank may not disclose client information to any government official or agency. The one exception is on the basis of a court order-but only in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials, or if the funds in question are being litigated. A very powerful banking lobby in the Philippine congress has blocked all attempts to modify bank secrecy legislation.

The Philippines is preparing draft anti-money laundering legislation. Other draft laws contain anti-money laundering provisions. These include the Anti-Racketeering and Organized Crime Syndicates Act, patterned after U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law. It contains provisions requiring financial institutions to pay attention to complex and unusual transactions. It is not yet clear if this includes the duty to report these suspicious transactions to an appropriate government authority. Another draft law, the New Central Bank Act, grants authority to the central bank to examine records to prevent the criminal abuse of the Philippine banking system, as part of its regulatory authority to ensure the safety and soundness of the country's financial system. Fifteen banks are known to be registered in the Philippines' OFC. These banks are licensed and supervised by the central bank and are subject to its supervision.

The Philippines does not yet have a financial intelligence unit, but the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (EIIB) has responsibility for combating money laundering. It conducts research on the methods and extent of money laundering in the Philippines. The National Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (NALECC) serves as an information-sharing network for intelligence and law enforcement agencies combating money laundering.

The Philippines is an active member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering and has assisted neighboring countries in successful money laundering operations. In February 1999, the Philippines established the Center on Transnational Crime to combat narcotics trafficking, money laundering, smuggling, and terrorism. The Center is setting up a criminal information database containing information on known international criminals and will collect global anti-crime legislation. Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam will contribute information resources and share data through the Center. An MLAT is in force between the Philippines and the United States.

The Philippines is committed to criminalizing money laundering and to drafting anti-money laundering legislation that meets international standards. The greatest obstacle to these efforts is overcoming the resistance by commercial banks and their congressional allies to allow exceptions to bank secrecy provisions for anti-money laundering and other crime fighting measures. Adoption of appropriate regulatory and enforcement measures will assist the Philippines' efforts to combat financial crime, corruption, and organized crime.

Poland (Concern). As the first country from the Soviet Bloc in Central Europe to break away from Communist rule, Poland has experienced all of the difficulties of the rapid transition to a democratic country with a free market economy. Poland's central location and open borders make it a prime target for transnational crime especially narcotics trafficking. The rise in criminal activity and associated money laundering are major concerns of Polish authorities. Narcotics trafficking, organized crime, auto theft, tax fraud, smuggling, extortion, and counterfeiting are some of the primary sources of illicit proceeds generated in Poland. Poland serves as a transit point for illegal funds from former Soviet countries moving to offshore centers in Western Europe and elsewhere. Authorities have also been especially concerned that the large size of Poland's gray economy may offer many opportunities for money laundering. Banks, exchange bureaus and casinos appear to be vulnerable to money laundering.

Money laundering was criminalized with the enactment of Article 299 of the Penal Code in September of 1997. Since 1992 Poland has enacted a number of legislative measures to create an anti-money laundering regime, but the process has been slow and not well coordinated at the national level. Despite the efforts made thus far, Poland has yet to prosecute a money laundering case leading to a successful conviction. Poland's current anti-money laundering regime has provisions for customer identification, record keeping requirements, suspicious transaction reporting, internal anti-money laundering procedures and training for all Polish financial institutions covered by the applicable laws, regulations, and resolutions. The provisions of Poland's anti-money laundering regime do not cover many non-bank financial institutions that have been traditionally used for money laundering.

Poland does not yet have a financial intelligence unit (FIU). Legislative proposals to establish an FIU have been drafted since 1996, but the creation of an FIU and a suspicious transaction reporting system are not anticipated until sometime in 2000.

The United States and Poland signed a mutual legal assistance agreement that came into force in August 1999. Poland is very active in international anti-money laundering fora. Poland's EU membership aspirations will require it to meet international anti-money laundering standards. Poland is a member of the Council of Europe and participates in the Council of Europe's PC-R-EV. In May 1999, Poland underwent a mutual evaluation by the PC-R-EV.

Implementing the recommendations of the PC-E-RV report will give Poland a regime that fully meets international standards for combating money laundering. As it now stands, Poland's anti-money laundering regime is incomplete and contains loopholes through which money laundering may occur.

Portugal (Concern). Portugal is an entry point for narcotics transiting into Europe, and officials believe most of the money laundering that occurs in the country is drug-related. Officials report that drug trafficking organizations have used offshore companies to wire funds to bank accounts in other offshore jurisdictions, and channeled money through bureaux de change.

Portugal has a comprehensive anti-money laundering regime in place. Decree-Law 15/93 penalizes the transfer of proceeds related to narcotics trafficking and calls for confiscation of property and assets connected with money laundering. Decree-Law 325/95, amended by Law 65/98, extended the crime of money laundering to proceeds of terrorism, arms trafficking, extortion, kidnapping, procuring, trading and trafficking in minors, trafficking in human beings, corruption, and serious economic offenses (specified in a separate economic crimes law). It also introduced supervision of non-financial institutions, and gave the Portuguese Judicial Police (PJP) the ability to trace illicitly obtained assets, including assets passing through casinos and lotteries. The law applies even if the predicate crime is committed outside of Portugal.

These legal measures apply to all financial institutions (including insurance companies) and many non-financial institutions, including casinos, property dealers, lotteries, and dealers in high-value assets (antiques, gems and precious metals, works of art, automobiles.) Financial institutions must identify their customers, maintain records for ten years, and demand written proof from the customer as to the origin and beneficiary of transactions exceeding $12,600. They must cease transactions when money laundering is suspected and make a report to the judicial authority and the Office of the Public Prosecutor. All reports are then immediately referred to the Brigada de Investiga��o de Branqueamento de Capitais (BIB) of the Judicial Police for initial analysis. If suspicions are confirmed, the Judicial Police then conduct the actual investigation. The eight-person BIB, which functions as Portugal's financial intelligence unit (FIU), centralizes all information concerning reports of suspicious transactions and shares this information with foreign counterparts.

The system for reporting suspicious transactions is still relatively informal. Banking authorities first contact anti-money laundering authorities, and file a formal report only if the latter believe it is warranted. This has resulted in a relatively small number of formal reports filed (346 over a four-year period), although the number has slightly increased each year. The reports have triggered 184 investigations.

Decree-Law 170/93 requires declarations of cross-border movements of sums exceeding $12,600.

Public and private sector regulators and organizations also play an important role in Portugal's anti-money laundering program. The Bank of Portugal comprehensively monitors compliance by financial institutions via inspections and annual internal control reports. The Portuguese Banking Association provides regular training courses on money laundering for employees of banks and other financial institutions. The Portuguese Insurance Institute, through Circular No. 27/97, monitors compliance by insurance entities, educates the insurance sector on risks specific to the industry, and informs the judicial authorities if it encounters evidence of money laundering. The Securities Commission (CMVM) regulates the securities industry, monitors compliance by financial intermediaries, provides training for brokers, and informs the judicial authorities if it encounters evidence of money laundering. The CMVM cooperated with foreign authorities in two major investigations involving laundered funds in Portugal.

The Government of Portugal (GOP) also has comprehensive legal tools to effectively cooperate with foreign jurisdictions and share seized assets. Portugal is a member of the Council of Europe and of the FATF, and currently holds the FATF presidency (1999-2000).

The BIB was admitted into the Egmont Group of FIUs in May 1999.

Portugal is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

The Portuguese islands of Madeira offer one of the few offshore centers within the EU. Madeira's International Business Center includes a free trade zone and an international shipping register, and also offers offshore banking, trusts, holding companies, stock corporations and private limited companies (the latter two acting much like international business corporations). All entities established in the Center are tax exempt until 2011. Companies can also take advantage of Portugal's double taxation agreements. Decree-Law 10/94 permits the establishment of branches of existing banks and insurance companies. Applications are submitted to the Central Bank of Portugal either for notification, in the case of EU institutions, or authorization, in the case of non-EU or new entities. The law allows establishment of "external branches," which conduct operations exclusively with non-residents or other Madeiran offshore entities, and "international branches," which may also conduct business domestically. Madeira has local autonomy, but as an integral part of Portugal, its offshore entities are fully regulated by Portuguese and EU legislative rules and supervised by the competent oversight authorities. As such, the sector is probably not widely abused by money launderers.

Portugal has put into place comprehensive and effective measures to combat money laundering. The system for reporting suspicious transactions could be improved, however, by instituting a more formalized system and by increased involvement and training for entities outside the banking sector. The GOP should also continue due diligence over the offshore sector, and pay closer attention to non-bank financial institutions, such as bureaux de change.

Qatar (Other). Qatar, which is neither a world nor a regional financial center, is not thought to be at major risk for money laundering. The banking sector is small, well organized and geared primarily to meeting domestic financial needs; it consists of six domestic banks, two Arab banks, and six non-Arab foreign banks. The Qatar Monetary Agency (QMA) functions as the nation's central bank. As such, it supervises and coordinates the banking system, including issuing directives and regulations to banks and other financial institutions. The regulations include mandatory customer identification policies, the reporting of large transactions, and the maintenance of banking records. The QMA is an independent agency, and its governor has cabinet status.

Qatar is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. It is a member of the GCC, which holds FATF membership.

In order to maintain the integrity of its financial system, Qatar should consider criminalizing money laundering and require the reporting of suspicious financial transactions.

Romania (Concern). Romania's location in Southeastern Europe bordering the Black Sea makes it a prime transit country for trafficking in narcotics, arms, and persons. Its excellent land, sea, and air connections, combined with open borders and intermittent hostilities in the Balkans, make Romania's role in transnational crime even more prominent. The major sources of illegal proceeds generated in Romania are trafficking in narcotics and arms, alien smuggling, smuggling of commodities and goods, counterfeiting, auto theft, financial fraud, tax evasion, corruption, prostitution and pandering. Funds are laundered through banks, casinos, and business entities. Common money laundering schemes include the illegal use of the banking system for the transfer of illicit funds, the use of front and ghost companies, companies registered in offshore zones, false invoicing schemes, false documentation, and the under- and over-reporting of imported and exported goods, among others. Businesses are commonly used as fronts to launder domestic sources of criminal proceeds, given the cash-based nature of the Romanian economy.

Romania criminalized money laundering with the adoption of Law N�21/99, On the Prevention and Punishment of Money Laundering that was adopted in January of 1999. The law became effective in April 1999. This law contains provisions for customer identification, record keeping requirements, suspicious transaction reporting, the creation of a financial intelligence unit (FIU), and internal anti-money laundering procedures and training for all Romanian financial institutions covered by the law.

The National Office for the Prevention and Control of Money Laundering (NOPCML) is Romania's FIU. The NOPCML is in its formative stages of development and is not yet operational. The NOPCML is an administrative agency that will act as a filter between financial institutions subject to reporting requirements and law enforcement authorities. The NOPCML's staff is composed of representatives from the various agencies concerned with money laundering and is subordinate to the government administration. The NOPCML's function will be to receive and evaluate suspicious transaction reports, cash transaction reports, and unusual transaction reports. It will gather information on suspicious transactions and forward preliminary cases to the Public Prosecutor's Office for investigation. The NOPCML has made tentative steps to become a member of the Egmont Group.

Romania and the United States signed an MLAT in May 1999, but it is not yet in force.

Romania is a member of the Council of Europe (COE) and participates in the COE's PC-R-EV. In July 1999, the PC-R-EV conducted its first mutual evaluation report on Romania, which outlined in detail suggestions for the anti-money laundering law's implementation phase, as well as areas of improvement for future legislation. By taking into account the recommendations of the COE evaluators, Romania's will have an anti-money laundering regime that meets international standards and function effectively.

Russia (Primary). 1999 was a watershed year for financial scandals alleging widespread money laundering for Russia. Although these allegations have not been proven, scrutiny of Russian financial transactions revealed a basic misconception of the relationship of money laundering to the unauthorized export of capital under Russia's system of capital controls. Russian and U.S. investigations indicate that funds transfers from Russia were for the most part capital flight and not the laundering of criminal proceeds. Criminal proceeds may constitute a portion of the funds transferred. For this reason, a major focus of ongoing investigations in the United States, Russia, and other jurisdictions is to identify the origin of the funds.

Economic conditions rather than criminal motives generate most of the export of capital from Russia. These include a lack of confidence in ruble stability, lack of trust in the banking system, government corruption, onerous tax and regulatory regimes, weak property rights, and poor corporate governance. Survival for Russian businessmen entails the use of elaborate schemes including foreign and offshore financial transactions to protect assets and evade taxes. The role of U.S. banks in these financial transactions is to clear correspondent dollar accounts of Russian banks, and those of offshore accounts involved in Russian commerce.

The amount of Russian financial transactions through offshore zones is tremendous. $78 billion was sent from Russia to offshore accounts in 1998, of which $70 billion went through accounts of banks chartered in Nauru alone, according to the Central Bank of Russia. The funds transfers through Nauruan accounts are in no way indicators of economic activity. Much of these funds returned to Russia according to the Russian Central Bank. Nauru is attractive because of the ease of setting up the funds transfer mechanisms and the secrecy that Nauruan banks offer. In 1999, the Russian Central Bank instituted regulatory measures to scrutinize offshore financial transactions involving offshore centers to prevent illegal financial transactions.

Notwithstanding the muddling of capital flight into the picture, money laundering remains a pervasive problem in Russia. For the years 1996-1998, unauthorized capital exports averaged $25 billion a year. Russia's enormous resources and size, combined with the prevalence of organized crime, corruption, and an inadequate legal framework, make it a risk for money laundering by any standard.

Russia criminalized the laundering of the proceeds of all illegal activity with the adoption of its Criminal Code on 1 January 1997. According to Russian law enforcement authorities, 250 money laundering cases were investigated in 1997 and 1,000 cases in 1998. However, Russia still lacks legislation establishing measures to effectively prevent and detect money laundering, and to cooperate with foreign authorities to prosecute it.

In July 1999, President Yeltsin vetoed the anti-money laundering legislation negotiated by the joint Duma/Federation Council Commission. His veto letter explained that the money laundering law contradicted Russia's international obligations under the European Convention on Money Laundering to which Russia became a party in May 1999, and would contradict the Constitutional provisions guaranteeing the free movement of goods and services and protecting property rights. He found that the reference to illegally derived proceeds was not consistent with the Criminal Code provisions defining a crime and that allowing the suspension of a transaction without a judicial decision potentially violated the constitutional right to privacy.

The Chairman of the State Duma Committee created a conciliation commission-comprised of representatives of the State Duma, the Federation Council, and the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation-to draft an anti-money laundering law acceptable to all concerned. The commission will work using the vetoed legislation and a version submitted by the Presidential Administration that takes into consideration the reasons for the presidential veto.

Russia recognizes the need for a financial intelligence unit (FIU) and has made efforts to address this concern. In mid-1999 the Russian government created the Interagency Center for Countering the Legalization (Laundering) of Illegally Derived Proceeds. Its purpose was to improve cooperation and coordination among Russian federal agencies in combating money laundering. The Center is based at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. As with all law enforcement activity, the Procuracy has oversight responsibilities in the efforts of law enforcement agencies represented at the Center. The Central Bank participates in the Center in accordance with the procedures set by a cooperation agreement signed with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The agencies represented at the Center include the Ministry of the Internal Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry for Taxes and Levies, Customs Committee, Federal Security Service, Federal Tax Police, Federal Currency and Export Control Service, Ministry of Economics, and the Ministry of Justice.

The Center has three principal missions. The first is to collect, analyze, and verify information on suspicious financial transactions. The second is to provide strategic analysis to detect and prevent money laundering at the national level. The third is to organize the efforts of federal executive agencies to detect and prevent money laundering, as well as fostering cooperation with similar foreign agencies and international organizations.

Although it is as yet too early to assess the Center's performance, creating it on the basis of Russia's current anti-money laundering measures would constrain its effectiveness. Its abilities will be severely hampered without the adoption of anti-money laundering legislation that establishes the framework for suspicious transaction reporting, record-keeping requirements, and international cooperation, among other measures, consistent with international standards.

Throughout 1999, Russia has remained active in international anti-money laundering efforts. Russia continues to work with the FATF, and the FATF has expressed interest in having Russia join the organization once it passes adequate anti-money laundering legislation. Russia sends representatives to meetings of the Egmont Group, the informal international group of financial intelligence units. Russia also participates in the Council of Europe's PC-R-EV and will undergo a mutual evaluation by Committee member nations in 2000.

On the bilateral level, a Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement is in effect between Russia and the United States. The Agreement allows each side to request information and other material to support investigations. The United States and Russia signed an MLAT in June 1999. The Treaty will expand and increase the level of cooperation in investigating and prosecuting criminals once it is ratified and brought into force by both sides.

Russian authorities are aware of the need to adopt effective anti-money laundering legislation and implement appropriate measures to combat money laundering. These actions will add regulatory and enforcement tools in Russia's efforts to root out financial crime, corruption, and organized crime. The tasks now are to develop an anti-money laundering framework that meets international standards, conforms to Russia's legal environment, and respects the constitutional and human rights of its residents; and to implement this framework effectively, including through international cooperation,

Samoa (Concern). Formerly known as Western Samoa, this South Pacific country, while not a major offshore financial center, has developed an offshore financial sector as a means to expand its revenue base. Samoa's offshore sector is an alleged location for the laundering of criminal proceeds from Russia and other jurisdictions. Financial transactions through Samoan registered international business companies (IBCs) appear to be particularly useful to money laundering operations. In 1999 the Russian Central Bank instituted regulatory measures to scrutinize offshore financial transactions involving Samoa, as a preventive measure to thwart their use as mechanisms for money laundering and tax evasion schemes. Samoa licenses banks, insurance companies, trusts, and corporations for offshore operations; however, Samoan IBCs appear to be particularly vulnerable to money laundering abuse.

The International Companies Act of 1987 (and amendments) provide the legislative basis for establishing IBCs. The Act does not require the disclosure of beneficial ownership, permits bearer shares, allows the marketing of shelf companies, and allows no public access to registers of corporate directors or managers. In addition, names may be incorporated in Chinese script or other languages, provided that an English translation is attached to the incorporation documents. This provision is purportedly targeted at companies involved in investments or joint ventures in China. Corporate documents may be written in any language. Corporate entities may be listed as officers and shareholders since Samoan IBCs have all the legal powers of a natural person. Resident corporate directors and secretaries are not necessary. A registered trustee company must be appointed as the registered agent. There are no requirements to file annual statements or annual returns, to appoint an auditor, or to hold annual general meetings.

The Offshore Banking Act 1987 and the International Insurance Act of 1988 govern the operation of offshore banks and captive insurance companies respectively. These laws contain regulatory provisions that deter the use of these entities by parties seeking anonymity and unfettered operations. Marketers of offshore services via the Internet promote Samoa for the confidentiality and ease of establishing IBCs; however, other offshore centers are for recommended for offshore banking, insurance, and trust operations.

Samoa has draft anti-money laundering legislation under consideration for all serious offenses. It has no requirements to report suspicious transactions and no central authority to monitor the criminal abuse of its financial system. Samoa has no supervisory authority to monitor its offshore corporate sector. Samoa does not participate in any international anti-money laundering fora, nor has it signed any bilateral agreements to exchange information to assist in criminal investigations and prosecutions for money laundering offenses.

Samoa needs to enact and implement anti-money laundering legislation that meets international standards in order to protect its financial services industry from financial crimes and money launderers. Particular emphasis needs to be directed to its offshore financial center, which lacks prudential bank supervisory oversight.

Saudi Arabia (Other). The lack of an anti-money laundering regime, the widespread use of cash, and the existence of a flourishing, unregulated hawala banking network (used primarily by immigrant workers) suggest that Saudi Arabia is vulnerable to money laundering. An additional risk factor is the network of Islamic banks, which do not pay or charge interest but use fixed fees, often paid in cash.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), which functions as a central bank, in 1995 published guidelines to help prevent Saudi banks from being used as channels for illegal transactions. In 1998, an interministerial committee reviewed all Saudi laws pertaining to money laundering and prepared amendments to bring them into conformity with the FATF Forty Recommendations. The proposed revisions, in the form of new legislation, were approved by the Saudi Council of Ministers in 1999; no details of the revisions are available. Individuals or banks suspected of money laundering are subject to criminal prosecution under Shari'a (Islamic law), the Banking Control Law, and Saudi labor law. Money laundering cases are currently heard in the Shari'a court, which bases its jurisdiction on the Koranic injunction that "assets arising from illegal action shall be forbidden and confiscated". However, as part of the process to implement the new law, the Ministry of Interior will establish a committee to refer cases for criminal prosecution to the Saudi Board of Grievances, which will hear the cases in accordance with the new legislation.

SAMA requires that banks set up money laundering control units to review policies and implement training programs. Banks are required to notify SAMA and police authorities if they suspect money laundering activity. SAMA and bank compliance officers meet monthly to share information on money laundering trends and cases. SAMA itself conducts conducts semi-annual awareness courses on money laundering for bankers and enforcement officials, as well as customized courses for security and intelligence personnel and for judges.

According to post reporting, the Ministry of Interior maintains statistics on money laundering in Saudi Arabia, but that information is not publicly disseminated.

Now that it has enacted anti-money laundering legislation, Saudi Arabia needs to enforce it with full vigor to protect its financial system against money laundering.

Senegal (Other). Senegal is neither a financial nor a money laundering center. It has enacted legislation against narcotics-related public corruption, but the law does not specifically address money laundering. The Director of Senegal's Judiciary Police, however, has said publicly that he believes money laundering needs to be addressed.

In December 1999, the Franco-zone Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) requested a police inquiry into a possible attempt to breach its computer-based SWIFT inter-bank money transfer network. The Dakar-based BCEAO is the central bank for Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo, all of which use the French-backed CFA franc currency.

Seychelles (Concern). Seychelles is a growing offshore financial center and as such has the potential to develop into a money laundering center. However, there is little evidence of money laundering activity at present. The 1995 Economic Development Act, which contains provisions that provide protection from asset seizure and extradition, is on the books but has not been brought into force. The Government of Seychelles (GOS) has given assurances that the law will remain inactive.

Seychelles' 1996 Anti-Money Laundering Act criminalized the laundering of funds deriving from all serious crimes. The Act provides for the reporting of suspicious transactions, safe harbor protection for persons and institutions making such reports, record keeping and know your customer requirements, and forfeiture of the proceeds of crime.

As part of its strategy to diversify the economy and increase foreign exchange earnings, the GOS actively markets Seychelles as an offshore financial and business center designed to facilitate the registration of non-resident companies. A major defect of the program is that it still permits the issuance of bearer shares, a feature that can facilitate money laundering by making it extremely difficult to identify the beneficial owners of an international business companies (IBC). The Seychelles International Business Authority (SIBA), part of the Ministry of International Trade, acts as the central agency for the registration of IBCs, which now number over 2,700. The registered agent of an IBC presents memoranda or articles or incorporation to SIBA, which vets the IBC by investigating the validity of the documents submitted, the financial status of the applicant, the character and experience of the management, adequacy of capital structure, and ability of the applicant to cover liabilities and obligations. If the investigation proves satisfactory, SIBA then issues a certificate of incorporation. No minimum capital is required. There is no requirement to disclose the beneficial owner of an IBC, for which a minimum of one director or shareholder is required. Registration fees are inexpensive, ranging from $100 to $1000. Confidentiality is guaranteed by law-civil proceedings involving IBCs may be heard by a judge in chambers. IBCs pay no taxes in Seychelles, and are not subject to foreign exchange controls. IBCs are not required to file annual reports. Seychelles also permits offshore trusts (registered through a licensed trustee) and insurance companies. SIBA sponsors an Internet offshore advertising site.

The Ministry of Finance and Communications, operating through the central bank, is responsible for the registration and regulation of Seychelles banks. Although the law permits offshore banks, the GOS stated in January 1999 that the central bank has not yet issued any licenses for offshore banks, despite numerous applications, because of the failure of the applicants to meet what the GOS describes as "stringent" requirements, including minimum capital requirements and liquid assets and background checks into the history of the bank and the experience of its management.

Seychelles needs to ensure that its offshore sector is subject to prudent supervision. It should move to eliminate the issuance of bearer shares and to require the disclosure of beneficial ownership of IBCs, as well as to repeal the Economic Development Act.

Singapore (Primary). Singapore is one of the largest financial centers in the world and a major financial center for Southeast Asia. As an international financial center, Singapore provides opportunities for money launderers to conduct a wide range of illicit transactions. Complicating enforcement is the difficulty of detecting illicit transactions in a financial sector this size, despite official efforts to counter such activities. The limited transaction records and the closely-held personal confidentiality characterizing "alternative" remittance systems (such as the Indian "Hawala" ("Hundi") system or the Chinese underground system ("chit" or "chop" system, traditionally associated with Chinese business activity) provide an additional attraction and medium for money launders. Both systems exist in Singapore. Singapore also has many "cash and carry" businesses dealing in expensive consumer items (e.g. electronics) that have been used in money laundering schemes.

Singapore's anti-money laundering legislation, the Drug Trafficking (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, was amended in September 1999. The Act is now known as the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (CDSA). The September amendments expanded the scope of predicate offenses to cover financial benefits derived from numerous serious crimes. The legislation extends to proceeds derived from activities that take place outside of Singapore, if such activity is illegal in Singapore.

The CDSA makes it an offense to launder the benefits of crimes defined in the CDSA as serious offenses, which comprise nearly 200 offenses including bribery, corruption, criminal breach of trust, counterfeiting, theft, extortion, robbery, misappropriation of property and cheating. Money laundering offenses include the retention, concealment or transfer of the benefits of drug trafficking or a serious offense; assisting in such offenses, even if not compensated; and failing to discharge a legally-imposed duty. Also regarded as offenses are the failure to disclose knowledge and/or suspicion of money laundering to the authorities or an employer, and interfering with a money laundering investigation by tipping off any person. The offenses are punishable by jail and/or financial penalties upon conviction.

While Singapore does not have a formal financial intelligence unit (FIU), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which functions as Singapore's central bank, and the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), established in 1984 to combat complex commercial frauds and white collar crime, play a significant role in the fight against money laundering. MAS's functions include the supervision and regulation of the banking, insurance, securities and futures industries, and the development and promotion of Singapore as an international financial center. The CAD investigates and prosecutes offenses under the Securities Industry Act, the Companies Act, the CDSA, and other financial laws. In January 2000, the CAD was reorganized and made a separate department within the Singapore Police Department. The consolidation of investigatory functions within a single department is designed to increase the effectiveness of money laundering investigations.

Singapore banks are required to combat money laundering by regulations based on the CDSA, the FATF Forty Recommendations, and the Statement of Principles of the Basle Committee on Banking Supervision and Supervising Practices. Banks implement a know-your-customer regime, which includes specific requirements for dealing with corporate clients, commercial inquiries and corporate documents. There are also procedures for dealing with shell companies and trust, nominee and fiduciary accounts, as well as accounts opened by lawyers and solicitors. "International personal banking," offered by some banks to nonresidents, seems primarily designed to facilitate investment and is governed by the same regulations as onshore banking.

The CDSA requires reporting of suspicious transactions to authorized officers. The reports are received and investigated by the CAD. Failure to make a report is an offense under the CDSA punishable by a fine. The CDSA provides safe harbor protection for the party making the report.

Singapore has strict bank secrecy laws. Banks operating in Singapore are required by the banking act to observe ban secrecy with respect to customers' financial information. However, such information may be divulged in specific instances; e.g., with customer consent, in bank-customer litigation, bankruptcy proceedings in Singapore and Malaysia, winding up and probate proceedings. Foreign bank regulators may also access information for supervision purposes. Since 1993, Singapore authorities have been empowered to exchange customer information with foreign authorities relating to drug trafficking money laundering. However, a prerequisite to the release of the information is a mutual legal assistance treaty, memorandum of understanding or other agreement in drug-related or criminal matters between Singapore and the other country. In September 1999, with the amendment to the CDSA, such mutual legal assistance has been extended to include serious offenses (as described above), though the condition that Singapore have an agreement with the foreign government still applies.

Singapore is a major offshore center with many non-resident companies, often referred to as international trading companies or international business companies (IBCs). Although there is overall supervision, there are few restrictions on the activities of these companies, except for financial services, education and media. Singapore's attractiveness is enhanced by a tax on corporate profits of only 26 percent and by its various double tax and investment protection treaties with other countries that provide certain tax planning and security advantages.

Shelf companies are virtually non-existent in Singapore. An offshore company must have a local registered office with a physical address (a PO box cannot be used) and a minimum of two directors, at least one of whom must be a Singaporean citizen, permanent resident or employment pass holder. Bearer shares are not permitted. A company incorporated in Singapore has the same powers as a natural person.

Singapore is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

The 1999 amendments to the CDSA have tightened Singapore's anti-money laundering regime. However, one of the conditions to assist foreign authorities seeking information is the existence of a mutual legal assistance treaty, memorandum of understanding or other agreement in drug-related or criminal matters. Thus, Singapore bank secrecy makes it extremely difficult to obtain bank records where there is no current investigation or prosecution in Singapore. Currently the United States and Singapore do not have such an agreement, even though cooperation between the two countries on an informal basis has been very good. Another area of concern is Singapore's lack of currency reporting requirements when large sums of money enter the country.

Slovakia (Concern). Slovakia attracts money laundering for many of the same reasons as neighboring countries in Central Europe. These factors include its geographic location, transition to a market economy, the presence of domestic and foreign organized crime groups, and a sizable gray market economy-all of which attract and facilitate money laundering schemes. Slovakia remains a transit country for transnational crime, especially for narcotics trafficking to Western Europe on the Balkan Route from the Middle East and Turkey. The presence of organized crime activity generates the illegal proceeds, while the predominately cash-based economy provides avenues for money laundering. The availability of anonymous savings accounts in the form of bearer passbooks may offer a mechanism to launder illicit funds. Criminal proceeds from Russian, Ukrainian, Chechen, and Italian based organized crime groups are known to use the Slovak banking system to launder the proceeds of crime.

Besides narcotics trafficking, other sources of criminal proceeds laundered in Slovakia include smuggling, auto theft, arms trafficking, commercial and customs fraud, tax evasion and tax fraud, racketeering, prostitution, and trafficking in illegal aliens. Money laundering methods used in Slovakia include the use of the banking system for the transfer of illicit funds, fictitious companies, false invoicing schemes, false documentation, and the under- and over-reporting of imported and exported goods, among others. Banks, insurance companies, and casinos are the types of financial institutions used to launder illegal proceeds. Businesses are commonly used as fronts to launder domestic sources of criminal proceeds given the cash-based nature of the Slovak economy. Slovak authorities are concerned that the privatization process may be used to launder proceeds through the purchase of state-owned firms. The types of monetary instruments used to launder illegal proceeds include cash, letters of credit, and bank drafts.

The Slovak Republic's anti-money laundering legislation, Act N�249/1994 as amended by Act N� 58/1996 "To Prevent the Laundering of Proceeds of Most Serious Crimes, Particularly of Organized Crime and to Amend Some Other Statutory Provisions Enacted by the Authority of the National Council of the Slovak Republic", became effective on October 1, 1994. On this same date, Article 252 "Legalization of Proceeds from Criminal Activity" of the Slovak Criminal Code came into force. The criminal provisions apply to all proceeds derived from all serious crimes.

The anti-money laundering law provides for a definition of money laundering, the types of transactions and financial institutions covered by the law, customer identification, record keeping requirements, unusual disclosure (suspicious transaction) reporting, a financial intelligence unit, and the establishment of internal rules for financial institutions to implement an anti-money laundering program. A weakness in the law is that only banks are required to report suspicious transactions. The law does not cover non-bank financial institutions, or casinos and other gaming establishments.

The Financial Intelligence Unit (OFiS) of the Bureau of Financial Police (UFP) serves as the Slovak financial intelligence unit and has jurisdictional responsibilities for money laundering violations. Provisions for this unit were made in Slovakia's anti-money laundering legislation, and the Ministry of the Interior regulation "Covering the Reporting Requirements of Banks" formally established it. This regulation specifically outlines how financial institutions are to comply with reporting requirements of suspicious transactions to the OFiS-UFP.

According to the Regulation "Covering the Reporting Requirements of Banks", financial institutions must report a suspicious transaction within 48 hours after its discovery. In cases where a bank employee discovers that a certain bank transaction will undoubtedly result in the laundering of illegally derived proceeds, the suspicious transaction must be reported immediately. The immediate reporting provision is mandated in order to allow the OFiS-UFP to take necessary measures to thoroughly document suspicions of criminal activity.

In its role as Slovakia's financial intelligence unit, the OFiS-UFP receives and evaluates the suspicious transaction reports and then collects additional information to establish a suspicion of money laundering. Once enough information has been obtained to warrant suspicion that a criminal offense has occurred, the OFiS-UFP forwards the case to the State Prosecutor's Office for investigation and prosecution.

Slovakia is a member of the Council of Europe and participates in the Council of Europe's PC-R-EV. The OFiS-UFP is a member of the Egmont Group.

Slovakia has established a good legislative basis for an anti-money laundering regime in a relatively short time. As its money laundering regime was implemented, areas for improvement were recognized by Slovak authorities and outlined in detail by the PC-R-EV's first mutual report on Slovakia. Implementing the recommendations of the report will give Slovakia a regime that fully meets international standards for combating money laundering.

Slovenia (Other). Slovenia's economic stability and strategic location on the Balkan drug route continue to offer attractive opportunities for money laundering activities. The major sources of illegal proceeds include organized crime-related auto theft, narcotics trafficking, fraud, tax evasion, alien smuggling and the smuggling of goods. Organized crime activity appears to be on the increase, although it still appears to be much less of a problem than in neighboring countries. Money laundering occurs through the banking sector, currency exchange businesses, casinos, real estate transactions and the physical transport of illegal proceeds across borders.

Slovenia's 1994 Law on Prevention of Money Laundering criminalized money laundering. The law requires financial institutions, non-financial institutions such as casinos, and legal and natural persons to report all cash transactions exceeding $22,000, and all suspicious transactions regardless of amount. Customer identification is also mandatory for all transactions, or series of transactions, exceeding $13,500 Records must be maintained for five years.

The Office for Money Laundering Prevention, established by the 1994 law, serves as Slovenia's financial intelligence unit (FIU) and is charged with receiving and analyzing suspicious transactions. Through the end of 1998, the office had processed 166 reports, of which 28 were passed to law enforcement authorities for investigation. Although the number of prosecutions for money laundering increased from 5 in 1997 to 13 in 1998, none have as yet been successful. Slovenia's FIU is an active member of the Egmont group of FIUs.

Slovenia has undergone an anti-money laundering mutual evaluation conducted by the Council of Europe's PC-R-EV. Slovenia participates in the Southeastern Europe Cooperative Initiative, whose aims include control of transborder narcotics trafficking and organized crime.

Slovenia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug convention. It has actively sought to meet the Convention's goals since it gained independence in 1991.

South Africa (Concern). South Africa is the major financial center in the region. The nation has a relatively sophisticated banking and financial industry and modern communication networks, and is strategically located on major trading routes between southern Africa, south Asia, and South America. The integration of South Africa into the international trade and financial arena, together with the gradual phasing out of exchange controls since 1994, has rendered the country more attractive to international money laundering.

During the last few years, South Africa has tried without success to implement the anti-money laundering legislation it has in place. The first legislation that addressed money laundering in South Africa was the Proceeds of Crime Act of 1996, which criminalized money laundering for all serious crimes. The Proceeds of Crime Act was superseded by the Prevention of Organized Crime Act (POCA) of 1998 that was enacted in November 1998. Chapter 3 of the POCA repeats part of the Proceeds of Crime Act of 1996, which criminalized money laundering. This section of the POCA also establishes reporting requirements for suspicious transactions, provides a safe harbor provision for individuals reporting these transactions, and obviates all obligations, contractual or otherwise, to secrecy on the part of the transactors with the exception of attorney-client privilege. One of the main aspects of the new legislation is that new clients must be identified before they are allowed to open accounts, in order to prevent fraudulent accounts from being opened. The legislation calls for a financial intelligence unit (referred to in South Africa as a financial intelligence center) to receive reports made under the reporting requirements, and to analyze, investigate and disseminate the developed information. The legislation also provides for civil forfeiture of assets acquired through criminal activities. However, the POCA has been amended several times, and several challenges to arrests and seizures under the new version are pending. South Africa has had no prosecutions for money laundering.

South Africa has no offshore financial center.

The United Nations Global Program Against Money Laundering, which works with nations on fighting money laundering, began working with South Africa in November 1999 to introduce a monitoring system for banks.

In September 1999, the United States and South Africa concluded negotiations on a bilateral extradition treaty and an MLAT, both of which are awaiting signature. The United States and South Africa also negotiated and initialed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement in 1999.

It is important that the Government of South Africa take more concrete steps to establish a comprehensive anti-money laundering regime, particularly in view of the importance of its financial sector to its own economy and those of the rest of the region.

Spain (Primary). Spain's historic and linguistic ties with Latin America attract Colombian narcotics traffickers who exploit Spain's position as a bridge to the rest of Europe, and have earned Spain the reputation as being the gateway for Latin American drug funds to Europe. A significant black market for smuggled goods, funded by drugs, has developed, particularly in the area of computer technology, and there is evidence that Russian organized crime groups have infiltrated Southern Spain's resort towns. This increasing Russian organized crime presence was highlighted by last year's arrest by the Spanish police of Leonid Terkejov, leader of one of the most dangerous organized crime groups in Moscow, and Alexander Sigarev, an ex-banker wanted by Interpol for bank fraud and money laundering. The investigations into these Russian organized crime groups have linked them to local judges, police and politicians.

Nonetheless, with an anti-money laundering program based on prevention, and through strict regulation of the financial sector, enforcement and international cooperation, Spain has the essential elements to fight these crimes. The cornerstone of its anti-money laundering program is Act No. 19 of December 28, 1993, Concerning Specific Measures for the Prevention of Money Laundering; its corresponding implementing regulations are contained in Royal Decree No. 925 of June 1995; and the various reforms made to the Penal Code, noticeably the November 23, 1995 reform (Organic Law 10/95). The 1993 Prevention Act criminalized the laundering of proceeds derived from narcotics trafficking, terrorism and organized crime. Subsequent to the 1993 Prevention Act, reforms made to the Penal Code in December 1995 extended the criminalization of money laundering to all serious crimes and established the Special Prosecutor's Office for the Repression of Corruption-Related Economic Crimes. Specialized investigative units, equipped to fight drug trafficking, financial felonies and money laundering, have been established in areas of high-intensity organized criminal activity.

The 1993 Prevention Act introduced requirements for the recordkeeping (six years) and the reporting of large currency transactions ($17,000) and suspicious and unusual financial transactions. These recordkeeping and reporting requirements apply to banks and other components of the financial system (credit unions, credit card companies, casinos, real estate developers, investment, securities and insurance companies, stockbrokers, currency exchange houses, jewelers, and dealers in antiques, art, stamps and coins). The Act established the Commission for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Monetary Offenses as the ultimate authority to coordinate the anti-money laundering preventive efforts of all governmental agencies and the financial sector. The Commission has an Executive Service (SEPBLAC) which functions as Spain's financial intelligence unit (FIU). SEPBLAC, a multi-agency body located under the authority of the Bank of Spain (equivalent to the Central Bank), receives and analyzes the reports of suspicious and unusual transactions and has powers to request all information it deems necessary from financial institutions and other components of the Government. Reports indicating evidence of money laundering activity are forwarded to the law enforcement authority appropriate to the suspected criminal activity associated with the transaction. During 1996, regulations were issued for non-residents to inform the Bank of Spain of the importation of cash or bearer checks (in local or foreign currency) exceeding $7,000, and for residents and non-residents to inform the Bank of Spain, customs authorities or their financial institution of any exportation of cash or checks (in local or foreign currency) exceeding $7,000. In December 1997, regulations went into effect requiring financial institutions to report to the FIU inbound and outbound international funds transfers between $3,500-$35,000, as well as foreign exchange transactions involving cash between $3,500-$35,000 made by individuals on behalf of others.

Spain is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and an active participant in the FATF, having undergone various mutual evaluations of its anti-money laundering program. Spain has an MLAT and an extradition treaty in force with the United States and has similar agreements in force with numerous other countries, and can extradite persons suspected of money laundering. SEPBLAC has concluded agreements for the exchange of information with several counterparts and continues to be a leader in assisting other countries develop effective anti-money laundering programs. Spain has the ability to share assets seized as a result of a joint operation. The Council of Europe's Convention on Mutual Assistance and the Strasbourg Convention forms the basis for Spain's international cooperation regarding confiscated goods. Two investigative techniques that would enhance international cooperation, the use of controlled deliveries and undercover agents in money laundering cases, are under consideration by the Legislature. There seems to be close coordination among the large number of authorities involved in combating money laundering, and a commitment from the Spanish banking sector to do its share.

Sri Lanka (Other). Sri Lanka is not considered a major money laundering center, nor is it a tax haven, a financial center, or an offshore center. Under Sri Lanka's Bank Secrecy Act, financial transactions relating to narcotics trafficking are illegal. Draft legislation amending the Dangerous Drug Ordinance to include specific provisions against money laundering still had not been presented to Parliament at the end of 1999. A consultant from the U.S. Treasury played a key role in drafting the legislation, which also contains provisions relating to the forfeiture of assets from narcotics trafficking.

Sri Lanka is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Sri Lanka needs to enact its anti-money laundering legislation and to expand its scope beyond narcotics-related money laundering. It should also consider establishing a suspicious activity reporting system and due diligence requirements for its financial institutions.

St. Kitts and Nevis (Concern). St. Kitts and Nevis is a two-island Federation and an independent member of the British Commonwealth. This country is at major risk for money laundering because of the high volume of drug trafficking activity through and around St. Kitts and Nevis, and the presence of known traffickers on the islands. A number of Russian organized crime figures have taken up residence in St. Kitts.

An opportunity available to these individuals, and to others in similar circumstances in St. Kitts and Nevis and elsewhere in the Caribbean, is the use of the economic citizenship program to buy Kittitian nationality and adopt new names. (An economic citizenship program offers citizenship for sale to foreigners who invest a specified amount of money in the country.) St. Kitts has the oldest economic citizenship program in the eastern Caribbean under the Citizenship Act of 1984. The Act contains three investment options to be paid in the Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar-equivalent of U.S. dollars. The options are: 1) $200,000 in St. Kitts and Nevis ten year Treasury bonds, or 2) $250,000 in an investment project approved after March 1996, or 3) $150,000 in a real estate development approved prior to March 1996. In addition, registration fees for Kittian citizenship are the EC dollar-equivalent to $35,000 for the head of household, $15,000 for the spouse, and $15,000 for each dependent under age 18. U.S. and other law enforcement officials view the programs as impediments to fighting international crime, because economic citizenships are being exploited by international criminals to conceal their identities and their illicit financial gains. Unscrupulous individuals take advantage of these weakly regulated programs to modify and/or create multiple identities. These identities are then used to aid in the creation of offshore entities used in money laundering, financial fraud, and other illicit activities, as well as to facilitate the travel of the perpetrators.

In 1995, St. Kitts and Nevis criminalized drug-related money laundering and mandated suspicious transaction reporting and record keeping by financial institutions. In 1999, Parliament approved an amendment to the law to include non-drug offenses, but the amendment has not yet been enacted into law.

Under the Federation's 1996 Companies Act, public and private companies on the two-island nation are exempt from income, capital gains and withholding taxes as long as they conduct their business exclusively with individuals who are not residents in the Federation. The Confidential Relationship Act of 1985 for St. Kitts and Nevis provides confidentiality for company officials or shareholders in the event foreign authorities seek private banking and financial records.

St. Kitts and Nevis each has its own offshore financial sector. The Federation has not enacted an overall banking bill, but Nevis has its own Offshore Banking Ordinance of 1996. In October 1997, St. Kitts enacted a law permitting offshore financial centers on the island. St. Kitts' several hundred offshore companies compete with Nevis's offshore industry, which consists of approximately 9,000 companies. New company creation and registration can be done quickly in Nevis, and is accomplished by the simple payment of the capitalization tax and fees to the Register of Corporations.

St. Kitts and Nevis is a member of the CFATF. In compliance with CFATF requirements, the country underwent a CFATF mutual evaluation in February 1999. The mutual evaluation report was completed and submitted to the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis for review and comment. After much delay, the Government finally responded with comments on the report, which can now be discussed at the March 2000 CFATF plenary session in Port of Spain.

St. Kitts has signed an MLAT and an Extradition Treaty with the United States. An exchange of instruments of ratification, which is the final step to bring the treaties into force, is scheduled for late February 2000.

The challenge before the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is to enact expeditiously the amended anti-money laundering legislation approved by Parliament criminalizing money laundering beyond drugs, to implement its anti-money laundering legislation, and to draft regulations to supervise its growing offshore industry.

St. Lucia (Concern). St. Lucia is not a major financial center. However, St. Lucia has decided to develop an offshore financial services center, which may make the island more vulnerable to money laundering in the future. St. Lucia criminalized money laundering for crimes beyond drug trafficking through the Proceeds of Crime Act, 1993.

The Government of St. Lucia recently enacted additional legislation to combat money laundering. On September 9, 1999, the Parliament enacted the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act. On the same date, the House of Assembly passed a comprehensive inventory of offshore legislation. The offshore legislation consists of the International Business Companies (IBC) Act, the Registered Agent and Trustee Licensing (RATL) Act, the International Trusts (IT) Act and the International Banks (IB) Act.

An analysis of the October draft of the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act revealed the law contained know-your-customer provisions, suspicious transaction reporting requirements, and record keeping requirements. It also called for the creation of a Money Laundering (Prevention) Authority to inspect records kept by financial institutions, instruct financial institutions to undertake an investigation, disseminate information within or outside St. Lucia, make recommendations from information received, issue guidelines to financial institutions, advise the Minister for Legal Affairs, and consult with individuals for the purpose of exercising powers under the Act.

While the new offshore legislation is generally well constructed, the U.S. Government expressed to the government its concerns about the potential intermingling of commercial marketing interests and governmental regulatory roles and responsibilities in the offshore financial sector. Consequently, a U.S. delegation met with St. Lucian officials to discuss issues related to international financial services sector development. The U.S. delegation reiterated its concern about the importance of establishing clear lines of division between promotional and regulatory functions and of keeping the roles of the public and private sectors separate. The St. Lucian government agreed to review the U.S. concerns.

Both the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act and the offshore legislation were recently brought into force. U.S. agencies are reviewing the laws to assess whether they meet international standards regarding offshore regulatory regimes.

As a member of the CFATF, St. Lucia underwent a first mutual evaluation in compliance with CFATF requirements. The report on the evaluation, which preceded the establishment of St. Lucia's offshore sector, was reviewed at the July 1999 CFATF Plenary.

St. Lucia had signed an MLAT and an Extradition Treaty with the United States, and the treaties were brought into force by an exchange of instruments of ratification in February 2000.

Beyond ensuring that its offshore legislation prevents the intermingling of the government's regulatory role and responsibilities with commercial marketing of the sector, the St. Lucian government should move quickly to implement the legislation and enforce the new regulatory regime, including the Money Laundering Prevention Act.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Concern). St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has a large and growing offshore sector that is protected by strict secrecy laws and is inadequately regulated. The local economy is also affected by marijuana production for local use and export, as well as by cocaine transshipment through the islands. These factors combine to offer many legal and financial layers for criminals to launder money. SVG has enacted some of the anti-money laundering recommendations of the FATF and CFATF, but must do more to implement recent legislation, strengthen the existing regulatory framework, and organize a coordinated government effort to enforce such policies.

In 1999 the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (GOSVG) took the important step of enacting the Proceeds of Crime Act, which criminalizes money laundering beyond drug proceeds and subjects corporations to criminal prosecution for money laundering. The Drug Trafficking Offenses Act of 1993 had criminalized certain activities relating to the transfer and concealment of drug proceeds. It allowed for some asset forfeiture and confiscation, but only after a conviction for drug offenses. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank supervises the domestic banking sector, and in 1995 it issued Anti-Money Laundering Guidance Notes for licensed banks that follow CFATF recommendations. However, the Notes lack any enforcement authority. There are still no regulations requiring customer identification, the reporting of suspicious or large transactions, or the identification of beneficial owners of business entities.

SVG offers offshore banks, trusts, insurance companies, international business companies (IBCs) and international shipping companies. Internet advertisers consistently name SVG as one of the safest for securing financial privacy and "assets away from home jurisdictions." Section 39 of the International Trust Act specifically states "foreign judgements are not enforceable" against asset protection trusts established in SVG. In 1998 SVG also passed the Mutual Funds Act 1998 and the International Insurance (Amendment and Consolidation) Act 1998. Legislation in 1996 created an Offshore Finance Authority (OFA) to regulate offshore activities, but it lacks adequate staff and there are no mechanisms to ensure compliance by offshore entities. OFA is responsible for appointing an offshore finance inspector, licensing and regulating offshore banks, and overseeing the activities of the Registrar of Companies, which approves licenses for IBCs. Offshore banks are exempt from taxes for 10 years, and must be approved by the board of the OFA, upon prior approval by the Minister of Finance.

Adding another layer of secrecy, the St. Vincent Trust Service, the main marketer for the SVG government that claims to incorporate 95% of SVG's IBCs, maintains its office in Liechtenstein, another jurisdiction with investor-favorable tax policies and strict bank secrecy. It advertises on-line company registration, including ready to use, pre-named "shelf companies," and offers to register the company with a nominee director and bearer shares. It boasts that SGV is unlike an increasing number of jurisdictions that require the reporting of beneficial ownership to authorities, and has instead "passed the most stringent confidentiality laws to underline this fact and to protect clients." IBCs are also not required to file accounts with any authority, and are exempt from taxes for 25 years.

SVG is also putting in place the structure for an economic citizenship program, which has been described as competitive with that of Dominica, offering yet another legal layer under which criminals may hide.

Current SVG law limits the exchange of financial information, asset sharing or cooperative investigations with foreign authorities. The Confidential Relationships Preservation (International Finance) Act of 1996, for example, could impede international cooperation, although its most restrictive section has been removed. On-line marketers still quote the Act, stating that "confidential information may not be released under any circumstances where the disclosure would further a tax oriented investigation or prosecution by a foreign government." An updated extradition treaty and an MLAT between the United States and the SVG entered into force in September 1999.

SVG is a member of the CFATF and has undergone a mutual evaluation by that body.

The GOSVG needs to fully implement the Proceeds of Crime Act; issue regulations that require entities to identify beneficial owners, maintain records and report suspicious transactions; and establish a central authority to receive financial information and cooperate with foreign authorities. The GOSVG should also increase resources to properly supervise the offshore sector and adequately train regulatory and law enforcement personnel on money laundering operations and investigations. Particular caution is warranted in implementing an economic citizenship program without proper due diligence, since such a program could offer yet another avenue for international criminals to hide themselves and their illicit profits.

Suriname (Other). There are indications that money laundering occurs in Suriname, reportedly through over-valuation of purchase prices, the sale of gold purchased with illicit funds and sold in Suriname, and manipulation of accounts in commercial and state controlled banks. Casinos, many of which opened in 1998, may also facilitate money laundering. The police have created a financial investigative unit to begin information gathering and have begun work on money laundering laws, but the present legal regime is inadequate to prevent money laundering. There are unsubstantiated reports of money laundering, drug trafficking and associated criminal activity involving current and former government and military officials.

Suriname enacted new anti-narcotics legislation in January 1999. The new law provides for greater police investigative and property seizure powers, as well as longer prison sentences. Representatives of Suriname's police force and prosecutor's office continue to participate in regional anti-drug and money laundering conferences.

Suriname is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The challenge before the Government of Suriname is to complete its effort to enact adequate laws to address asset forfeiture and money laundering, and to apply forcefully the provisions already in effect.

Swaziland (Other). Swaziland is not a major financial center. However, its narcotics trafficking, outdated legislation, limited enforcement capabilities and easy cross-investment with South Africa all provide the potential for money laundering. U.S. law enforcement sources report that money laundering in Swaziland is on the rise.

Swaziland's anti-narcotics law dates from 1929 and does not specifically address money laundering. The Government of Swaziland drafted a Money Laundering Act in 1997, but it has not been enacted. The new Attorney General of Swaziland said publicly in November 1999 that he would "rekindle the flame" for this legislation. The Swazi Minister of Finance has stated that amendments to strengthen existing central bank regulations dealing with requirements for setting up financial institutions have gone to the cabinet.

Swaziland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Sweden (Other). In 1999, Swedish anti-money laundering legislation was amended to cover proceeds from all types of criminal activity. Previously, money launderers were usually prosecuted for a receiving offense, such as receiving stolen goods.

Swedish law requires financial institutions, insurance companies and currency exchange houses to verify customer identification, inquire into the background of the transaction, and verify identities for each transaction, particularly in the case of new customers involving amounts over $13,250. Any suspicious transactions are to be reported to the police financial intelligence unit (FIU). The law was changed in 1999 so that non-complying institutions, rather than individual officers, will be sanctioned for violations. In addition, the police FIU may now demand identification from dealers in antiques, jewelry, junk and art; from companies buying and selling new and used vehicles; and from enterprises which deal with gambling and the sale of lottery tickets.

Swedish law provides for the seizure of assets derived from drug-related activity.

Sweden is a member of the FATF and the Council of Europe. Its FIU participates in the Egmont Group.

Switzerland (Primary). Switzerland is a major international financial center. It is considered to be vulnerable to money laundering because of the strength of the Swiss franc, the sophisticated nature of financial services available in Switzerland, and the level and nature of bank secrecy available in Switzerland. It is believed that the proceeds of a wide range of illicit activities (most notably narcotics trafficking and corruption) conducted around the world are laundered in Switzerland.

Several pieces of Swiss legislation address money laundering. Money laundering was criminalized by article 305bis of the Swiss Penal Code. Additional legislation includes articles 58 and 305ter of the Swiss Penal Code, CFB (Swiss Federal Banking Commission) Directive 91/3 (of 1/7/98) and the Agreement on the Banks' Obligation of Diligence.

Swiss law requires banks to determine the identity of customers conducting transactions in excess of $64,000, and foreign exchange houses to determine the identity of customers conducting transactions in excess of $16,000. Reporting of suspicious transactions to the Money Laundering Reporting Office (MROS) by banks, lawyers, accountants, insurance brokers and financial advisors is mandatory. The MROS was established by the Money Laundering Act of October 10, 1997 (which also addresses the regulation of asset managers), and is part of the Federal Office for Criminal Police Matters. The MROS serves as Switzerland's financial intelligence unit (FIU) and participates in the Egmont Group. Disclosures to the MROS are not subject to civil or criminal prosecution or administrative sanctions if due diligence was exercised in association with the disclosure. Failure to disclose carries penalties of up to $128,000 and possible revocation of the financial institution's license.

Although the term "Swiss bank secrecy" is often used monolithically, there are actually three distinct areas of bank secrecy in Switzerland: civil, criminal and administrative. Each of these is addressed by an appropriate area of Swiss law:

Article 28 of the Swiss Civil Code obligates Swiss banks to maintain their clients' privacy. If the customer is aware of a potential and unauthorized release, a court order may be obtained to prevent the release of information. In case of unauthorized release, the bank may be sued for breach of privacy.

Article 47 of the Swiss Federal Banking Law criminalizes unauthorized release of information. This applies not only to the bank and its employees, but to parties attempting to discover protected information.

Finally, there are administrative consequences associated with the unauthorized release of information. The banker making the unauthorized disclosure will most likely be terminated, and there is also the possibility that the bank's license will be revoked or that it will lose its membership in the Association of Swiss Banks.

There are, however, exceptions to these secrecy provisions. The most important of these comes from the U.S.-Swiss MLAT of 1973 that establishes the countries' mutual obligations to assist one another in criminal prosecutions. This treaty provides for the disclosure of information in cases stemming from a wide range of offenses. Not all tax offenses are covered, but Switzerland will disclose information pertaining to tax fraud cases.

Switzerland's banking sector provides accounts to residents and nonresidents alike (the latter can be opened through various intermediaries who often advertise on the Internet and also offer various offshore services), or as part of private banking activities, which are an important aspect of Swiss banking. These accounts are typically opened by individuals for taxation or investment purposes, or by Swiss offshore companies in order to conduct business (including tax avoidance and investment).

Switzerland's offshore sector offers two types of companies: the stock company and the limited liability company. The stock company requires share capital of $64,000 to be on deposit before the company can be formed; from this capital, bearer shares may be issued. There is no requirement to disclose the beneficial owner of the corporation. The limited liability company requires share capital of $12,800 to be on deposit before the company can be formed. The limited liability company cannot issue bearer shares, and the identity of the beneficial owner must be disclosed and is available in the commercial register. In general, it can be said that a properly established and well managed Swiss company (of either type) could significantly minimize its tax liability from both business undertakings and investments.

Switzerland is a member of the FATF.

Syria (Other). Opportunities for money laundering in Syria are considered limited. Although illicit proceeds from the drug trade may flow through Syria, it is generally believed that they are moved to Lebanon for laundering purposes. Syria is not a major financial center, the banking system is state-controlled, and transactions in (as well as handling of) foreign currency is generally prohibited. However, the private sector routinely conducts foreign currency transactions to finance imports, generally by using letters of credit from Lebanon and Europe. The private sector also has restricted access to foreign currency earnings from exports.

In 1996, the Government of Syria (GOS) began allowing individuals to open foreign currency accounts at the Commercial Bank of Syria. There is no restriction on withdrawals from these accounts, or from any account in Syrian pounds.

In practice, there are means for businessmen and private citizens to move currency illegally across the Syrian borders, particularly those with Lebanon. There are reports that such transactions occur with the tacit approval, if not involvement, of Syrian government officials. Lebanese sources state that Syria accounts for a large percentage of Lebanon's banking business.

Syria has no anti-money laundering legislation. It does have a law providing for the seizure of assets financed by profits from the drug trade, and the GOS has made use of this law.

Syria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

In order to deter money laundering activity, Syria needs to draft anti-money laundering legislation that criminalizes money laundering, mandates the reporting of suspicious transactions, and authorizes authorities to act on such reports.

Taiwan (Primary). Taiwan is at major risk for money laundering, because Taiwan individuals are involved in narcotics trafficking in Southeast Asia. However, money laundering in Taiwan is primarily a problem due to the smuggling of normal commercial products (especially agricultural goods) from the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) to evade current restrictions. Other sources of money laundering proceeds include fraud, insider trading, tax evasion and other financial crimes, as well as drug trafficking. Offshore criminal proceeds are likewise sent to Taiwan for laundering. Organized crime groups from Taiwan launder money through joint ventures and real estate purchases in China and other Asian countries. Alternative remittance systems (ARS), commonly known as underground banking, also serve as mechanisms to launder criminal proceeds. The ARS is widely used in Taiwan and by ethnic Chinese communities throughout the world. The laundering of criminal proceeds through this system is extremely difficult to detect or prevent.

Taiwan's anti-money laundering legislation, the Money Laundering Control Act (MLCA) became effective April 23, 1997. The MLCA criminalized money laundering for all serious crimes with references to specific predicate offenses listed in the Criminal Code, other criminal statutes, and the Banking Law, Securities Exchange Law, and the Bankruptcy Law. Major provisions of the MLCA include customer identification and transaction recording requirements, disclosure of suspicious transactions, designation of a suspicious transaction receiving agency, and international cooperation.

The MLCA empowered the Ministry of Finance in consultation with the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, and the central bank, to designate an agency to receive suspicious transaction reports. The decision was made to establish this agency, the Money Laundering Prevention Center (MLPC), within the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau. The MLPC, Taiwan's financial intelligence unit, became operational on April 23, 1997.

During implementation of the MLCA, Taiwan authorities realized the need to amend the Act to include certain offenses such as tax evasion and gambling as predicate offenses for money laundering. Taiwan is considering prohibiting financial institutions from informing their clients that their suspicious transactions will be reported to the MLPC, a move that would bring the MLCA in line with international anti-money laundering practice. Another amendment under consideration is to make pawnshops, travel bureaus, antique dealers, auto dealers, and real estate businesses subject to the provisions of the MLCA.

The United States and Taiwan, through the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and its Taiwan counterpart, are examining the possibility of negotiating a Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement (MLAA). Taiwan is a founding member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering and actively participates in the Group's meetings. The MLPC is a member of the Egmont Group.

Tajikistan (Other). Tajikistan's prominence as a drug-transit country is not matched in the money laundering area. Tajikistan is not a financial center, and its underdeveloped banking sector will prevent it from becoming a significant money laundering country in the near future. As a matter of policy, Tajikistan does not encourage or facilitate the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Government actions in 1999 showed a willingness, but little ability, to combat drug-trafficking related problems.

Tajikistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. It has as well a bilateral cooperation agreement with the United States, which is facilitating the delivery of anti-money laundering training, including such topics as the investigation and prosecution of money laundering crimes, controlling international money laundering and investigating economic fraud.

Tanzania (Other). Tanzania is not a financial center, but it continues to be a major transit point for the shipment of a variety of illegal drugs. There has been a sharp rise in the activities of organized crime, which in turn has spawned a myriad of cash-intensive businesses set up to launder money, including travel agencies and import-export firms.

Narcotics related money laundering is a criminal offense in Tanzania, but enforcement of the law is virtually non-existent. There is a great deal of corruption among law enforcement officials, who take bribes for overlooking narcotics and money laundering offenses, thus creating an atmosphere conducive to financial crime in Tanzania.

Tanzania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Thailand (Primary). Thailand's role as a transit country for Southeast Asian narcotics makes it a prime target for money launderers. Thailand's geography and economy are factors that help account for this role. Northern Thailand forms part of the Golden Triangle with Burma and Laos. Although Thailand has made significant strides in reducing the production of illicit narcotics, it still serves as a major narcotics trafficking route from the Golden Triangle because of its good transportation infrastructure and international connections. Thailand's sizable Chinese minority population maintains economic and cultural ties to China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and to Chinese communities in other Southeast Asian countries. This community is a particularly intensive user of the alternative remittance systems (ARS), which facilitates the transfer and laundering of criminal proceeds from narcotics consuming countries such as the United States to producer countries such as Burma and Laos. Corruption among banking and government officials facilitates money laundering activities. Finally, the size of Thailand's economy and large gray economy provides ample possibilities to launder criminal proceeds or transfer them abroad.

The major sources of proceeds laundered in Thailand are narcotics trafficking, smuggling-particularly petroleum products-arms trafficking, trafficking in people, prostitution, and illegal gambling. Money laundering methods include the use of bank accounts, false invoicing schemes, commodities purchases, stock market investments, real estate purchases, and businesses with high volume cash transactions.

A widely used money laundering method in Thailand is the ARS known as "phoi kuan". The laundering of criminal proceeds through this system is extremely difficult to detect or prevent. It was introduced into Thailand by Chinese immigrants and is used by ethnic Chinese communities throughout the world. The ARS can transfer large sums of money efficiently and quickly without leaving financial records tied to the transactions. The paper trail is eliminated by avoiding official reporting requirements to Customs authorities that bulk cash or monetary instruments would attract at the border, and commercial bank reporting requirements that cash or suspicious transactions require. The system is still used for its traditional purpose of conducting legitimate transactions, however, it is also used for tax evasion and as a means to move and launder criminal proceeds.

The ARS relies on a network of businesses such as jewelry stores, gold shops, travel agencies, money exchangers, finance companies, and import/export companies. At certain stages of the money transfer, the system depends on legitimate banks to balance the accounts of the parties conducting the transaction. No physical transfer of funds takes place; the transaction is merely a credit entry in the sending company's account and a debit entry in the receiving company's account. Even though physical funds are not moved during the transfer of funds using the Chinese ARS, the books must be balanced to reflect the actual exchange of value that the entries in the correspondent accounts represent. To accomplish this, the entities conducting underground transactions would use larger banks to transfer money usually through foreign intermediary banks to settle their accounts.

The advantages of using the ARS include anonymity, speed, price, and convenience. The system is much faster than bank procedures since large currency transactions can be conducted in a matter of hours. Fees are kept low, since the Chinese underground bankers also profit by taking advantage of unofficial currency exchange rates that are more favorable than official exchange rates. ARS uses businesses located within the community where banks may not be present or located at some distance. ARS hours tend to be more flexible than commercial bankers' hours.

Thailand's anti-money laundering legislation, the Money Laundering Control Act B.E. 2542 (1999) became effective August 20, 1999. The Act criminalized money laundering for the following predicate offenses: narcotics trafficking, prostitution, pandering, arms trafficking, financial institution fraud, embezzlement, public corruption, smuggling and other customs violations, extortion, and blackmail.

Major provisions of the Money Laundering Control Act include those dealing with customer identification, record keeping, and the reporting of large and suspicious transactions. The Act also creates three agencies to handle various aspects of the Act-the Money Laundering Control Board, the Business Transactions Committee, and the Money Laundering Control Office.

The Money Laundering Control Board advises the Cabinet and formulates government policy on money laundering issues. It also monitors and evaluates the effectiveness of the Money Laundering Control Act and the performance of the Business Transactions Committee and Money Laundering Control Office.

The Business Transactions Committee executes operational aspects of the Act that address suspect transactions and the disposition of proceeds. It may audit and suspend suspect financial transactions related to money laundering for a period of up to three days. In cases where there is evidence that a financial transaction is related to money laundering it may suspend the transaction for up to ten days. The Committee may compel physical and juridical persons, as well as government agencies and officials, to provide oral or written testimony and documentation in money laundering investigations. It can conduct search and seizure operations for the purpose of investigating, monitoring, and freezing of assets or evidence of money laundering offenses. In addition, the Committee may freeze assets related to a money laundering investigation for a period of up to ninety days if there is probable cause that the assets are perishable.

The Money Laundering Control Office is Thailand's financial intelligence unit (FIU), which became operational in 1999. It receives, analyzes, and processes suspicious and large transaction reports as required by the Act. The Business Transactions Committee tasks the Office with administrative functions such as collecting evidence and identifying witnesses for money laundering investigations. The Office is also tasked with providing training to the public and private sectors concerning the provisions of the Act.

The U.S.-Thai MLAT entered into force in 1993. Thailand is a member of the Asia/ Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG). It co-chairs the APG's Working Group on Alternative Remittance Systems and will host the next meeting of the Working Group in March 2000. The MLPC is a candidate member of the Egmont Group of FIUs.

Thailand has a small offshore banking sector that offers tax advantages to commercial banks operating businesses that may accept deposits, extend loans, and conduct other financial services only in foreign currency. Commercial Banking Act B.E. 2505, as amended by the Commercial Banking Act B.E. 2522, established these offshore banks to operate as Bangkok International Banking Facilities (BIBF). BIBFs were listed by the United Nations Drug Control Program and by the World Bank as potentially vulnerable to money laundering activities because they serve as transit points for funds and as tax havens for non-residents permitting physical separation of funds from their owners. BIBFs are now subject to the recently enacted Money Laundering Control Act. Implementation of the Act will probably discourage the use of BIBFs as money laundering mechanisms.

Thailand's anti-money laundering program is still in the early stages of implementation, but the legislative framework appears to be in conformity with international anti-money laundering standards. Thailand has made rapid and laudable progress in its efforts to combat money laundering.

Tonga (Other). Tonga is not considered an important regional financial center, and financial crimes have not shown any discernible increase. The law permits offshore banks, but according to late 1999 information from the Government of Tonga, all previously issued licenses for offshore banks in Tonga were revoked in 1991. One new offshore banking license was reportedly issued in 1997 but revoked in 1999.

Laws are still in place in Tonga regarding offshore banks. They are regulated by the Reserve Bank of Tonga, and enjoy favorable tax treatment, freedom from exchange control, freedom from disclosure of information regarding the owners of the accounts, and exemption from registration procedures. Domestic banks are required to know, record, and report the identity of customers engaging in "significant" transactions, including large currency transactions.

The government is expected to introduce a draft bill to criminalize money laundering based on the UN Model Law ("Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Bill") in Tonga's parliament in early 2000. The new law will also include due diligence provisions for financial institutions. Tonga has endorsed the Basle Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision, and is in the process of amending its Financial Institutions Act to ensure consistency with the Principles.

Tonga needs to follow through on its draft bill criminalizing money laundering.

Trinidad and Tobago (Other). Trinidad and Tobago has a well-developed and modern banking sector, but it is not an important regional financial center, nor is it a tax haven or offshore center. The country is experiencing an increase in financial crimes, mostly in the form of counterfeiting and credit card fraud. Reports from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GOTT) indicate that that the same individuals who are involved in drug trafficking also engage in money laundering. It is likely that some money laundering takes place in banks, credit unions, stock brokerages, insurance companies, casinos, and some retail businesses.

Currently, only drug-related money laundering is a criminal offense, although a law to expand predicate offenses to include "serious crimes" is being drafted. Although not legally required to do so, banks in Trinidad and Tobago have subscribed to a money laundering prevention agreement under which they require a declaration of the source of funds for large transactions ($1,600 for individuals and $6,350 for businesses.) At present the GOTT allows financial institutions to report suspicious transactions to the relevant authorities, but proposed legislation would require banks and other financial institutions to report both suspicious and significant transactions. Persons reporting suspicious transactions are protected by law from prosecution and civil liability. Banking records must be maintained for 14 years, although some banks maintain them for longer periods.

The central bank has set money laundering guidelines, including due diligence provisions, that apply to all financial institutions that are subject to the Financial Institutions Act of 1993. These include banks, finance companies, leasing corporations, merchant banks, mortgage institutions, unit trusts, credit card businesses, and financial services businesses. Credit unions and exchange houses are not subject to the guidelines.

GOTT customs regulations require that any sum above $5,000 (in currency or monetary instruments) entering or leaving the country be declared. Cash above $10,000 may be seized, with judicial approval, pending determination of its legitimate source.

The GOTT has an inter-ministerial counternarcotics/crime task force that investigates drug trafficking and related money laundering. Six people are currently on trial charged with transferring assets derived from narcotics trafficking. They are the first persons in Trinidad and Tobago to be charged with money laundering under the 1991 Dangerous Drugs Act.

The GOTT has legislation in place that allows it to trace, freeze and seize assets. Current legislation does not allow for the sharing of forfeited assets with other countries. Authorities may seize legitimate businesses if they are used to launder drug money.

Trinidad and Tobago is a member of the CFATF, which is based in Port-of-Spain. It underwent a CFATF mutual evaluation in 1997. An MLAT with the United States came into force in November 1999. The GOTT's international cooperation record in the area of information exchange on financial crimes has been excellent.

The GOTT needs to follow through with its draft legislation to broaden the criminalization of money laundering, to require the reporting of suspicious transactions, and to provide for asset sharing with other countries.

Tunisia (Other). Little information is available about possible money laundering activity in Tunisia. It is not a regional financial center, and the Tunisian government keeps a strong hand on the management of the economy. However, a number of factors may make Tunisia vulnerable to money laundering. One is the presence of an offshore banking sector consisting of eight banks, reportedly closely regulated by the Tunisian Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank. There are no offshore trusts or insurance companies. In the area of international business companies, there are approximately 1,200 offshore manufacturing companies (regulated by the Ministries of Commerce and Industry) and 300 offshore trading companies (regulated by the Ministry of Commerce). Unlike the manufacturing companies, the 300 offshore trading firms may or may not import goods to Tunisia for export. As a rule, they match up third country supply and demand, and broker trade deals with no goods ever entering or leaving Tunisia. The Government of Tunisia (GOT), recognizing that the trading firms present a possible money laundering venue, closed down 30 of them in late 1999 because of suspicions that their stated purpose (trading used clothing) was not their primary business.

Offshore companies may be 100 percent foreign-owned. Anonymous directors are not permitted, and the names of all such individuals (or companies) must be listed in the Tunisian official government journal when the company is organized or when there is a change in the directorship.

Another factor to be taken into account is the small network of three offshore casinos, which is aimed at the five million tourists who enter Tunisia each year. Tunisian security officials and the Ministry of Finance closely monitor the activities of the casinos.

Tunisia has no comprehensive anti-money laundering statute. The only legislation dealing with money laundering is contained in a 1992 anti-narcotics law which makes it illegal to assist anyone involved in narcotics trafficking, including transferring funds, offering services, or procuring facilities which would enable trafficker to invest or disguise drug trafficking income. The law applies even if the illegal activity takes place in another country. The law also provides for the seizure of drug-related assets. There is no limit on the amount of currency that may be brought into the country, but any amount over $1,000 must be declared.

In view of the risks posed by the presence of its offshore sector, Tunisia should draft strong anti-money laundering legislation and implementing regulations.

Turkey (Primary). Turkey is an important and increasingly sophisticated regional financial center for Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Middle East as a whole, and Eastern Europe. It is also on the transit route for Southwest Asian opiates moving to Europe, although domestic consumption of narcotics is low. While narcotics trafficking is a source of illicit proceeds, most money laundering that takes place appears to involve tax evasion rather than narcotics transactions, and local narcotics trafficking organizations are responsible for only a small portion of the total of funds laundered in Turkey. Terrorist financing is also an issue. Money laundering takes place in both banks and non-bank financial institutions. According to early 1999 information from the Turkish Ministry of Finance, other major money laundering methods in Turkey include the cross-border smuggling of currency, bank transfers into and out of the country, and the purchase of high-ticket items such as real estate, gold and luxury automobiles. Information indicates that illicit funds are integrated into the economy through the financing of the construction of large apartment complexes and other buildings. The system of casinos, which had been considered a venue for money laundering, was closed down in 1998. Turkey is not an offshore financial center, and has no secrecy laws that prevent disclosure of client and ownership information to bank supervisors and enforcement officials.

The Government of Turkey (GOT) has been active in the fight against money laundering for several years, primarily as a means of reducing tax evasion and preventing terrorist organizations from financing their activities in Turkey. Turkey criminalized money laundering in 1996 for a wide range of predicate offenses, including narcotics-related crimes, smuggling of arms and antiquities, terrorism, and trafficking in human organs and in women. Enactment of the 1996 law was considered a major accomplishment, as Turkey was among the first countries in the area to criminalize money laundering. The Council of Ministers subsequently passed a set of regulations that mandate the filing of suspicious transaction reports (STRs) and customer identification, and require the maintenance of records for five years. These regulations are applicable to banks and a wide range of non-bank financial institutions, including insurance firms and jewelry dealers. The number of STRs being filed is steadily rising, as banks and financial institutions become more aware of what constitutes an STR. However, the requirement for the reporting of large cash transactions is still not being enforced, as the GOT believes it would impose too great a burden at a time when financial institutions (many of whose computer systems are not very sophisticated) are still getting used to STR reporting. Turkey also has in place a system for identifying, tracing, freezing and seizing narcotics-related assets, although Turkish law allows for only criminal forfeiture.

The FATF, of which Turkey is a member, has conducted two reviews of Turkey's anti-money laundering program. The second review noted that while Turkey was making progress, several areas need to be addressed. The suspicious transaction reporting system is satisfactory, but the low number of reports being filed is a cause for concern. The report suggested that intensive training for the private banking sector is needed to improve compliance. The report also stated that another area of weakness is the lack of sufficient supervision by the government over financial institutions.

The 1996 anti-money laundering law provided for the establishment of the Financial Crimes Investigation Board (FCIB), which receives and investigates suspicious transactions reports and serves as Turkey's FIU. The GOT strongly supports the FCIB, which moved into new headquarters in late 1998 and has increased its staff and the quality of its computer equipment. The FCIB cooperates closely with the United States in money laundering investigations, and has requested (and received) U.S. assistance in obtaining information on several cases.

Turkey participates in the FATF, and the FCIB is an active member of the Egmont Group of FIUs. The GOT is reviewing a draft agreement with the EU on the sharing of forfeited assets related to money laundering and criminal activities. The GOT is cooperating closely with the United States and with its neighbors in support of the development of a regional anti-crime center in the Balkans under the Southeast Europe Cooperation Initiative.

Turkey has an MLAT in force with the United States and the two countries cooperate closely on a case-by-case basis on narcotics investigations and proceedings.

Based on its demonstrated commitment to fighting money laundering, the GOT now needs to maintain the momentum it has generated in setting up its anti-money laundering regime. Implementing the regulation for the reporting of large cash transactions would be a recommended first step. It also needs to ensure that it has in place a prudent system of supervision over its financial institutions.

Turkmenistan (Other). Turkmenistan is not a financial center, and its financial sector is not developed enough to accommodate elaborate money laundering activities. In the past, however, Turkmen officials have expressed concern that criminal groups might be laundering money through casinos or hotels.

The Criminal Code of 1997 has no specific law addressing money laundering. Presidential Resolution No. 0210/02-2 of October 17, 1995, however, gives the central bank authority over all international financial transactions. Under the Resolution, any company making an electronic transfer of funds to an account abroad must provide documentation establishing the source of the money. Turkmenistan's tax inspectorate is responsible for checking for irregularities; if any are found, the tax office turns the case over to law enforcement services for investigation. No cases have been reported to date.

Turkmenistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Taking into account the Turkmen government's interest in combating money laundering, the U.S. government has scheduled training on international money laundering investigations for Turkmen officials in 2000 or 2001.

Turks & Caicos (Concern). The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), a British Caribbean Overseas Territory, remains vulnerable to money laundering. Offshore services offer bank and corporate secrecy opportunities for criminals to hide their money. However, in 1998 TCI passed comprehensive anti-money laundering legislation, and in 1999 the territory agreed to undergo a comprehensive review of its offshore industry and make any necessary changes to prevent criminal abuse of the financial sector.

The TCI's offshore services include banking, insurance, trusts, international business companies (IBCs) and other exempted companies. Shelf companies are available and accounts are not required to be kept or filed with any authority. For IBCs, there is no disclosure of beneficial owners to government authorities, and bearer shares are permitted. Public information indicated that some 13,300 IBCs and three offshore banks were on the registry. Trust legislation in the TCI also allows establishment of asset protection trusts that secure assets out of the reach of foreign governments. The Financial Services Commission (FSC) licenses and supervises all domestic and offshore finance-related operating entities. The FSC includes a Superintendent, a Deputy Superintendent of Professional Trust Companies, and a Deputy Superintendent of Insurance. The Companies Registry, which monitors the incorporation or the registering of new companies, is also under the jurisdiction of the FSC.

In 1998, the TCI governor signed the Proceeds of Crime Ordinance, criminalizing money laundering related to any crime and establishing extensive asset forfeiture provisions. The law also legislates a Reporting Authority to receive financial disclosures. It will consist of the Attorney General, the Collector of Customs (or his representative), the Superintendent of the Financial Services Commission or his representative, the Commissioner of Police or his representative, and the Superintendent of the Criminal Investigation Department or his representative. The Authority may disclose information it receives to law enforcement agencies in TCI or to foreign governments. The law also authorizes the governor to issue a code of practice to give practical guidance for entities to comply with the law, and to issue additional guidelines for the Reporting Authority. The law also includes a safe harbor provision for reporting of suspicious transactions to the Reporting Authority. Although the law is in force, the Authority has not yet been established. Guidelines are currently being drafted and are scheduled to be issued in early 2000. They are expected to include requirements for customer identification, record keeping, and reporting of suspicious transactions.

In 1999, the TCI also embraced a plan to review the offshore services in Britain's Caribbean Overseas Territories. The project is jointly funded by British and local officials and follows a white paper published in March by the British Foreign Secretary. Independent examiners will investigate all offshore sectors and regulations, as well as cooperation in international anti-money laundering programs, to determine what actions, if any, are necessary to bring the territories up to international standards to prevent criminal abuse of their offshore sectors. The evaluation is scheduled to be completed by mid-2000.

The TCI government cooperates with foreign governments in narcotics and money laundering investigations. After a three-year joint investigation with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), in February 1999 the Turks & Caicos authorities and RCMP seized the main office, records, and assets of the British West Indies Trust Co. Ltd., a TCI offshore company. The same day, RCMP arrested company trustee Richard Hape, a Canadian citizen, on charges of conspiring to launder drug money.

Turks & Caicos is a member of the CFATF and underwent a mutual evaluation in April 1997.

The TCI government needs to fully implement the Proceeds of Crime Ordinance, issue guidelines for supervised entities, and establish the Reporting Authority to act as a financial intelligence unit. Complying with recommendations from the financial review will also help improve financial oversight and protect the TCI's financial sector from abuse by international criminals.

United Arab Emirates (Primary). The United Arab Emirates' (UAE's) position as a major financial center renders it vulnerable to money laundering. The lack of a U.S. law enforcement presence in the UAE makes it difficult to formulate a complete and accurate assessment of the money laundering situation there. There is, however, ample information available from U.S. and foreign money laundering cases which indicates a connection to the UAE. Most money laundering activity is believed to involve the proceeds of foreign criminal organizations and illegal activities, with the UAE serving as a conduit to international financial markets. The UAE has an open economy with a highly developed financial system, no exchange controls, and low taxation. It is also a highly cash-intensive society. Finally, the hawala (or hundi) alternative remittance system flourishes in the UAE, particularly Dubai. All these factors suggest that the UAE is at high risk for money laundering.

There is no anti-money laundering legislation in place in the UAE. A money laundering/banking law has circulated in draft form for several years, but there is no estimate of when it may be enacted. The UAE's central bank, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, has established anti-money laundering guidelines, based on guidelines established by the British Bankers' Association. Banks are required to report large or suspicious transactions to authorities, but there is no effective mechanism to ensure compliance. While bankers reportedly provide information to authorities when requested, lack of a safe harbor provision may make them reluctant to do so. The UAE has not adopted due diligence laws making bankers responsible for the money laundering activities of their banks. It also has not adopted a system for identifying, tracing, freezing, forfeiting and seizing illegal assets.

It is believed that as in most, if not all, of South Asia, the hawala (or hundi) alternative remittance system is the primary mechanism for money laundering in the UAE. Local hawaladars (hawala brokers or operators) there take advantage of the lack of exchange controls (found in India, Pakistan and elsewhere) and do a thriving business in licit and illicit remittances. The gold market in Dubai is arguably the largest in both the Middle East as well as South Asia. The gold market also plays a key role in hawala remittances due to the high demand for gold in the region-gold is used as a parallel currency, if not the currency of choice, in certain transactions.

Hawala was a major factor in Operation Seek and Keep, the final phases of which occurred in 1999. This investigation, which was conducted by a multi-agency task force (Immigration and Naturalization Service, Internal Revenue Service, FinCEN, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Customs Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation) dismantled a global alien smuggling ring. Aliens were smuggled to the United States from several destinations, most particularly India. Many of the fees for the smuggling of these aliens were paid by U.S. businessmen seeking "indentured servants" to help in the operation of their businesses. Hawala was used extensively to move and launder the money in these operations. A key component of this was the transfer of funds to a Dubai-based business with a U.S. bank account. This bank account is currently the subject of an asset forfeiture proceeding.

The UAE is not an offshore center in the traditional sense, although there are plans to establish an offshore banking unit on Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island. Many local businessmen do, however, offer services equivalent to those associated with traditional offshore centers, such as nonresident incorporation. Even though there are no corporate registration agents for the UAE (as there are in or for many traditional offshore centers such as Singapore), it is possible to obtain essentially the same service. Someone seeking to use the UAE as a base of operations can pay a local businessman a fee for the use of his business name, or, in a somewhat more formal arrangement, enter into a partnership arrangement. In these partnerships, the local businessman will own at least 51% of the business, and the other partner(s) will remain effectively invisible (the partner may actually fund the entire business to gain access to the UAE as a base of operations). Even in a partnership, there is often no record of the identity of the foreign partner (who may actually be the full owner of the business). This makes it difficult if not impossible to identify beneficial owners of businesses or assets in the UAE.

Another service often associated with offshore centers is nonresident banking with high bank secrecy. This too is available in the UAE through hawala. Hawala transactions can be conducted there without any formalities, and most hawala transactions, particularly those of an illicit nature, leave little or no paper trail. In many cases hawala transactions are conducted by local businessmen on behalf of others, so it is difficult, if not impossible, to identify the source, destination and owners of the money involved in these transactions.

The UAE does not have a financial intelligence unit. The UAE is a member of the GCC, which is a member of the FATF. Despite this, the UAE has not taken steps to comply with the FATF Forty Recommendations.

The UAE has been generally receptive to U.S. Government overtures to cooperate on money laundering issues, and has welcomed money laundering related training and visits by U.S. officials to discuss money laundering.

The UAE needs to take concrete steps to address money laundering. Systematic enforcement of existing bank regulations would be a first step, as would enacting and implementing comprehensive anti-money laundering legislation based on established international standards. Since hawala is a major component of money laundering in the UAE, special steps would have to be taken to deal with it.

Uganda (Other). Money laundering is thought to occur in Uganda, but there is no good estimate of the amounts of currency involved. There are suspicions that local banks may provide a conduit for money laundering, but Ugandan enforcement officials have been unable to prove this because of the lack of adequate laws to assist them. A new anti-narcotics bill which is scheduled to be brought before the next session of Parliament should address this issue and aid in the investigative and prosecutorial process. Asset seizure is also addressed in the draft law.

Ugandan authorities are frank about their lack of expertise in combating money laundering and about their desire to obtain training. Germany provided Uganda with anti-money laundering and mutual assistance training in 1999.

Uganda needs to enact its draft anti-money laundering legislation to protect its financial institutions against financial crime and money laundering.

Ukraine (Concern). Although Ukraine is generally not considered an attractive location for international money laundering activities, significant criminal proceeds are generated in Ukraine and either laundered domestically or transferred abroad for subsequent laundering. Ukraine's location makes it a transit country for transnational crime, primarily narcotics trafficking. Other sources of illegal proceeds include smuggling, tax evasion, tax fraud, arms trafficking, and illegal alien smuggling. The presence of organized crime activity and rampant corruption provide favorable conditions for money laundering.

Foreign criminal proceeds are known to be laundered in Ukraine and transferred abroad. Funds leaving Ukraine are transferred to financial institutions in the former Soviet Union, Western Europe, the United Arab Emirates, Cyprus, the United States, and to offshore countries. For the most part, the funds do not return to Ukraine. The funds that do return are invested in businesses and real estate, or are deposited in bank accounts. Laundering of funds through the use of correspondent accounts in foreign banks, in particular in the Baltics and offshore zones, is a significant problem.

The types of financial institutions used to launder proceeds include banks, insurance companies, front financial companies, trust companies, currency exchanges, casinos, and real estate companies. Ukrainian financial institutions are used to launder funds from countries of the former Soviet Union. The types of monetary instruments used to launder proceeds include cash, bank drafts, traveler's checks, credit cards, wire transfers, and letters of credit.

Ukraine has drafted anti-money laundering legislation that appears to meet international standards. Article 194 of its draft Criminal Code will criminalize money laundering for all serious crimes. The Ministry of Justice anticipates introduction of these legislative initiatives into the Ukrainian Parliament sometime in 2000.

Ukraine participates in the Council of Europe's PC-R-EV. In May 2000, Ukraine will undergo a mutual evaluation conducted by the PC-R-EV.

In July 1999, the United States and Ukraine signed an MLAT. In September 1999, both countries exchanged diplomatic notes that provided for the provisional application of the MLAT. Provisional application will continue until the MLAT enters into force.

Ukraine should continue with its current efforts in addressing money laundering. The PC-R-EV's first mutual evaluation report on Ukraine may indicate areas for improvement. As Ukraine continues to implement its money laundering regime, taking into account the recommendations of the report will create a more effective regime that fully meets international standards for combating money laundering.

United Kingdom (Primary). The United Kingdom (UK) is one of the largest financial centers in the world and the largest in Europe. Some of the oldest and most established financial institutions (including banks, exchanges and insurance companies) in the world are based in the UK. Some UK financial institutions have a significant international presence due to connections developed during the British Empire. As a major financial center with significant international connections and well established financial institutions, the United Kingdom is vulnerable to money laundering.

In addition to money laundering through its traditional financial institutions, the UK has also had problems with money laundering through the hawala (or hundi) alternative remittance system. It is generally believed that that the majority of hawala transactions, conducted by the United Kingdom's sizable South Asian population, represent essentially legitimate or "back home" remittances. Under UK law, hawala operators are held to take deposits on behalf of their clients; since unlicensed deposit taking is illegal, so are hawala transactions. There are, however, known instances of hawala money laundering associated with narcotics trafficking and other crimes.

The United Kingdom has implemented the provisions of the EU's Anti-Money Laundering Directive and the FATF Forty Recommendations. There is no single piece of anti-money laundering legislation in the United Kingdom. The significant majority of anti-money laundering provisions are contained in the Criminal Justice Act of 1993 (CJA93), the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1989 (PTA89), the Drug Trafficking Act of 1994 (DTA94), and the HM Treasury Money Laundering Regulations of 1993.

UK laws and regulations require the reporting of suspicious transactions, customer identification and record retention. Reporting requirements apply to banks and non-bank financial institutions, as well as to lawyers, accountants and other professionals. Although bureaux de change are not regulated, they are subject to the reporting requirements.

Suspicious transaction reports are filed with the Economic Crime Unit of the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), which serves as the UK's financial intelligence unit (FIU).

On June 1, 1998, the Bank of England Act 1998 (BEA98) came into effect, transferring responsibility for UK bank supervision from the Bank of England to the newly established Financial Services Authority (FSA). The FSA's primary responsibilities lie in areas relating to the safety and soundness of the institutions under its purview. The FSA does, however, play an important role in the fight against money laundering through its continued involvement in the authorization of banks. UK and certain foreign banks must have the authorization of the FSA to take deposits. Banks incorporated in the European Union or European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) are subject to "home country" supervision.

The UK's banking sector provides accounts to residents and nonresidents (who can open accounts through various intermediaries, who often advertise on the Internet and also offer various "offshore" services), or as part of private banking activities. Private banking constitutes a significant portion of the British banking industry. Both resident and nonresident accounts are subject to the same reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Non-resident accounts are typically opened by individuals for taxation or investment purposes.

The NCIS is a member of the Egmont Group of FIUs. The UK is a party to the 1988 UN Convention and a member of the FATF.

Uruguay (Primary). With a modern banking system and economic and political stability, Uruguay is considered a financial center in the Southern Cone region, and as such remains attractive to money laundering. U.S. and European law enforcement officials believe that funds from illicit activities, including drug trafficking and contraband smuggling, may be laundered through Uruguayan financial institutions. Uruguayan investigations and criminal trials have identified Colombian organized crime groups laundering drug profits through the banking system. However, there is at present no solid indication of widespread money laundering in Uruguay.

Uruguay's anti-money laundering program continues to improve under the coordinated efforts of the National Drug Council and the central bank. The laundering of funds derived from narcotics trafficking became illegal upon passage of the October 28, 1998 Anti-Drug Law No. 17.016. Articles 71 through 74 of this Law prohibit financial institutions, including offshore banks and currency exchange houses, from opening or maintaining anonymous bank accounts, and mandate financial institutions to transmit information on financial transactions to the Central Bank of Uruguay. Financial institutions are not required to report suspicious transactions, but the central bank may revoke the licenses of banks and exchange houses involved in money laundering. The law does not contain a due diligence provision that would make bankers responsible if their institutions launder money.

The Anti-Drug Law also facilitates the lifting by the courts of traditionally strong bank secrecy laws to conduct money laundering investigations. If there is reasonable cause to suspect criminal use of the banking system by a specific person, the courts have the power to order access to the individual's bank accounts. The central bank and the courts have legal responsibility for asset tracing, and judges may issue orders to seize assets at any time and without prior notice. The Law also expressly authorizes Uruguayan courts to provide records to foreign authorities in criminal investigations. Subsequent to this Anti-Drug Law, in January 1999 the Transparency Law entered into force as a tool to fight government corruption. It criminalized a broad range of potential abuses of power by public officials, including the laundering of funds related to cases of public corruption, and instituted financial disclosure requirements for high government officials.

Prior to the passage of the 1998 Anti-Drug Law, a series of communications issued by the central bank (91/47, 91/55, 93/68 and 1452) had already required banks (including offshore banks), currency exchange houses and stockbrokers to record currency transactions over $10,000, identify the individuals making such transactions, establish databases to identify and analyze these transactions, and make their records available to the central bank upon request. The 1998 Anti-Drug Law reinforced these central bank anti-money laundering provisions. With U.S. assistance, the central bank has recently acquired computer systems to manage this information and is developing a database to allow for the analysis of the information and detection of possible money laundering activity. Although no existing Uruguayan laws explicitly address the sharing of seized narcotics assets with other countries, the Government of Uruguay has not ruled out such sharing and has expressed a willingness to negotiate bilateral sharing agreements. Uruguay and the United States have successfully implemented their 1984 extradition and 1994 mutual legal assistance treaties.

The Uruguayan government is encouraging the development of the offshore financial sector. The Uruguayan offshore program allows for the establishment of offshore financial investment companies (SAFIs) per the 1948 Offshore Companies Act, Law No. 11,083; free trade zone companies (FTZs) per the 1989 Companies Act, Law No. 16,060; and offshore banking enterprises (OBEs) per Decree 15,322 of 1989, which reactivated a dormant 1982 offshore banking law. The offshore financial investment companies (SAFIs) are best known for being used as investment holding companies. However, they are also used as trading companies, brokerage firms, and export and import companies, as well as to transmit funds to and from neighboring countries. The SAFIs are required to maintain a registered office in Uruguay and a set of accounting books. The minimum number of shareholders required is one, and shareholders do not have to be registered with the government. The FTZs are used within the nine Uruguayan free trade zones for manufacturing and distribution. The OBEs are used by large international banking institutions to provide foreign exchange services and finance the trade of multinationals operating in the region. OBEs are permitted to do business only with nonresidents and in foreign currency. They may neither accept resident deposits nor offer checking account services. Applications for OBEs must be approved by the Central Bank of Uruguay, which also approves the directors, issues the rules for accounting and financial statement preparation, and monitors their activities. The central bank also performs background checks on applicants for OBEs, although the thoroughness of these investigations is not clear. Offshore banks are subject to the same requirements as other financial institutions, including annual audits. In addition to the OBEs, the private commercial banking system in Uruguay is composed of 21 banks, 10 financial institutions, and 10 savings and loan organizations.

The Uruguayan Banking Association adopted a Code of Conduct in May 1997 that requires member banks to identify all new clients, scrutinize currency deposits greater than $10,000 or large deposits of foreign currency comprised of bills in large denominations, and to establish a database to capture information on deposits of more than $10,000 in large denominations or easily negotiable instruments.

Uruguay is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Criminalizing the laundering of proceeds originating from all serious crimes, mandating the reporting of suspicious financial transactions, and establishing regulations concerning the transport of currency and negotiable instruments across its borders are essential elements which the GOU should consider to strengthen its anti-money laundering regime.

Uzbekistan (Other). Uzbekistan is not an important financial center, and is of little significance for narcotics-related money laundering. Because the local currency is not convertible, and banking services are unsophisticated, Uzbekistan does not attract narcodollars. There is a significant black market for smuggled consumer goods in the country; however, the market does not appear to be funded by narcotics proceeds.

The country has no specific laws or international agreements regarding money laundering; regulations regarding money laundering and asset seizure are vague. A decree issued in October 1998 allowed banks to offer anonymous hard currency accounts, but the measure has thus far failed to draw significant deposits. There are strict controls on the amount of currency that can be carried across Uzbek borders. Currently, residents and non-residents may bring in up to $10,000 tax-free (a one percent duty is levied on amounts in excess of this figure). Non-residents may export as much currency as they brought in; residents may carry out up to $1,500.

Uzbekistan is scheduled to receive U.S. assistance to establish a financial intelligence unit, and has received U.S. anti-money laundering and financial institution fraud training.

Uzbekistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Vanuatu (Concern). Despite progress in adopting anti-money laundering legislation, there continue to be concerns regarding the operations of the Vanuatauan offshore financial sector that, in 1999, received considerable international attention because of alleged ties to Russian criminal activities. The government has moved to tighten application procedures for new International Companies (ICs) and for "exempted" (i.e. offshore) banks, aiming especially at possible Russian connections.

The offshore financial center of this chain of South Pacific islands contributes significantly to the government's revenue base. Vanuatu's offshore sector consists of exempted banks, ICs, insurance companies, internet gambling and trusts. Of these, ICs are of the greatest concern. Vanuatu's incorporation statutes contain provisions that shield the identity and assets of beneficial owners of business entities. In 1999, in response to indications that Russian entities were taking advantage of Vanuatu's company secrecy provisions, the Russian Central Bank issued a directive requiring Russian banks handling government funds to exercise caution in transactions involving certain Pacific jurisdictions, including Vanuatuan ICs. The anonymity and secrecy provisions available through ownership of Vanuatuan ICs, along with the ease and low cost of incorporation, make them ideal mechanisms for tax evasion and money laundering schemes.

The legislative basis for establishing International Companies is the Companies Act of 1986 and the International Companies Act of 1992. These statutes do not require the disclosure of beneficial ownership, permit bearer shares, allow the marketing of shelf companies, and do not allow public access to registers of directors or managers. In addition, corporate names may be in any language and script. Vanuatuan ICs have all the powers of a natural person other than engaging in banking or insurance activities. Officers, shareholders, and directors may be of any nationality and live anywhere. Their names need not be disclosed on incorporation records Corporate entities may be listed as officers and shareholders. Marketers of offshore services via the Internet promote Vanuatuan registered shelf companies complete with associated offshore bank accounts and maildrop forwarding services.

Vanuatu also licenses 62 banks and insurance companies for offshore operations. Vanuatu's Financial Services Commission (FSC) regulates these businesses to varying degrees. Vanuatu is increasing its regulatory authority over these entities out of safety and soundness concerns. There is no statutory bank secrecy in Vanuatu. Offshore banks registered in Vanuatu are subject to FSC regulations, which include the requirement to report quarterly, disclose beneficial ownership and undergo external audits and banking supervisory inquiries.

Vanuatu criminalized money laundering for all serious offenses with the adoption of the Serious Offenses (Confiscation of Proceeds) Act N� 50 of 1989. Tax evasion is not considered a predicate offense for money laundering. The Serious Offenses Act lacks two important provisions to effectively combat money laundering. One is a provision for the forfeiture of the instrumentalities used or intended for use in the commission of a money laundering offense. In this context, instrumentalities would be property used or intended to be used in any manner, wholly or in part, to commit a criminal offense. Seizure and confiscation of the instrumentalities as well as the proceeds of crime is very important in combating money laundering. The other is the lifting of corporate secrecy to establish beneficial ownership of legal entities that are the focus of investigations.

Vanuatu's legislation is silent on the standard of proof required for money laundering offenses. Case law in Vanuatu has shown that proving the criminal origins of proceeds, especially of offenses committed abroad, is extremely difficult. Linking criminal proceeds seized in Vanuatu with the offense committed abroad through a complex series financial transactions conducted by related corporations operating in several offshore jurisdictions is all but impossible. Vanuatuan investigators and prosecutors are unfamiliar with investigating these schemes. These factors have limited Vanuatu's ability to comply with foreign requests for assistance.

Vanuatu has enacted legislation, the Financial Institutions Act N� 2 of 1999, which contains many provisions of the FATF Forty Recommendations to combat money laundering. It is also introducing draft legislation, the new International Banking Act, that according to Vanuatuan authorities will bring it into full compliance with FATF standards. Vanuatu has also established an Offshore Banking Supervision Unit that will monitor criminal abuse of its offshore banking sector to include money laundering. The unit is too new to determine its effectiveness. Vanuatu is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering and the OGBS.

Vanuatu has made commendable progress in adopting anti-money laundering legislation. Vanuatu should consider amending its laws with respect to the instrumentalities of crime, lifting corporate secrecy of ICs for money laundering and applicable criminal investigations. It should also consider providing training to Vanuatuan investigators and prosecutors for complex international financial transactions typical of money laundering schemes.

Venezuela (Primary). Venezuela is not considered a regional financial center since its banking sector contracted significantly after the 1994-95 banking crisis, and the stock market has remained small. Venezuela does not have an offshore financial sector. However, it is this relative weakness of the banking sector, proximity to drug-source countries, newness of the financial regulations aimed at controlling money laundering, and corruption that continue to make Venezuela a prime target for money launderers. The proceeds from Colombian cocaine trafficking organizations constitute the primary source of the funds laundered in Venezuela, followed by contraband smuggling. Venezuelan banks, savings and loans, currency exchange houses, stockbrokers, real estate transactions, and casinos have been utilized to launder illicit funds. Venezuela has also been identified as a player in the Colombian black market peso exchange scheme that is driven in part by the demand for U.S. dollars by Colombian smugglers who need dollars to engage in illicit foreign trade. U.S. law enforcement has seen evidence of purchases of dollars by Venezuelan nationals, brokers located in Venezuela and businesses located in Venezuela's free trade zones that are being utilized to facilitate this black market peso exchange scheme. A U.S. interagency and multilateral working group is being formed to focus on this problem, and Venezuelan officials have expressed a strong interest in participating in the group.

During the last two years, the Government of Venezuela has improved its ability to combat money laundering, including the effective enforcement of information exchange agreements, strict regulation of the banking and financial sectors, adoption of a new Code of Criminal Procedures, creation of a financial intelligence unit (FIU), enhanced law enforcement cooperation, and expanded participation in multilateral anti-drug, anti-money laundering groups. The 1990 U.S.-Venezuela Kerry Amendment Agreement has facilitated the exchange of information on cash transactions in excess of $10,000 or the equivalent in other foreign currencies. Under the auspices of the 1994 Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement, Venezuela and the United States have also exchanged money laundering information. A 1997 Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement has allowed for the exchange of customs information used in money laundering investigations. In July 1997, a new banking resolution went into effect for banks and other financial institutions requiring them to report all cash transactions over $10,000 to the Superintendency of Banks and Other Financial Institutions. This banking resolution also mandates the reporting of suspicious financial transactions to the National Guard or the Technical Judicial Police, with a copy to the Superintendency of Banks and Other Financial Institutions. It contains strict customer identification requirements and provides a safe harbor protection from civil liability to bankers for reporting suspicious financial activities.

The implementation and enforcement of the September 1997 Casinos Law requiring the reporting of gambling transactions is progressing effectively, and the National Drug Council (CONACUID) initiated investigations into the casino licensing process and the activities of state lotteries. Significant resources and efforts are being devoted to the transition into the new judicial system as a result of the adoption in December 1997 of a new Code of Criminal Procedures that transformed the system from a secret, inquisitorial process to an open, adversarial system. In June 1998, Venezuela established an FIU (Unidad de Inteligencia Financiera - UNIF) within the Superintendency of Banks and Other Financial Institutions that is collecting and analyzing financial information on transactions possibly linked to money laundering. The UNIF pursued leads provided through the U.S. Operation Casablanca case in which Venezuelan lawyers and bankers were indicted for involvement in the laundering of drug proceeds during 1998. Venezuela renewed its participation in the CFATF, and underwent an evaluation of its anti-money laundering program in November 1999. The UNIF is a member of the Egmont Group.

Although currently only drug-related money laundering is a criminal offense (per the 1993 Organic Drug Law), the pending Organized Crime Bill contains a comprehensive list of offenses for which money laundering will be a criminal offense, and will broaden assets forfeiture and sharing provisions. This legislation will also provide law enforcement with stronger arrest and investigative powers by authorizing the use of modern investigative techniques such as undercover agents, wire-tapping, and controlled seizures. During 1999, significant arrests were made under the 1993 Organic Drug Law but there were no money laundering convictions. As part of President Hugo Chavez' focus on combating corruption, a series of investigations was initiated of mid-level public officials for involvement in corruption, including drug-related cases, and convictions were obtained in cases not linked to drugs. Over 200 judges were investigated for corruption and misuse of office, and 43 were expeditiously removed from office. For the first time, judges were subject to extensive scrutiny by a special commission. The passage of the Organized Crime Bill and continued forceful actions against corruption must remain Venezuela's top priorities against drug trafficking and money laundering.

Vietnam (Concern). Vietnam is not an important financial or offshore center, and its banking sector is small, with a low rate of return, and little trusted by Vietnamese persons or businesses. Newly approved legislation criminalizing money laundering is an important step in the direction of creating a legal framework that will help Vietnam deal with money laundering and the new forms of financial crime that accompany the implementation of market reforms.

Vietnam's borders with China, Laos, and Cambodia and its long coastline make it a transit country for transnational crime, especially for narcotics trafficking from the Golden Triangle. Foreign and expatriate criminals exploit the loopholes in outdated laws and take advantage of the inexperience of Vietnamese business managers to commit commercial fraud and use Vietnamese businesses to launder criminal proceeds. Financial crimes are also carried out in collusion with corrupt government and banking officials. Organized crime groups from China are known to use Vietnam as a staging area for importing contraband and stolen vehicles into China. With the opening up of its economy to foreign investors and the loosening of its border controls, Vietnam has experienced an increase in narcotics trafficking, commercial fraud, advanced fee fraud, smuggling, tax evasion, trafficking in women, and the laundering of foreign criminal proceeds.

Money laundering methods identified by Vietnamese authorities include the use of letters of credit to purchase businesses and real estate, direct capital investments in businesses, false invoicing schemes, commodities trading, and criminal proceeds posing as foreign investment loans. In addition, Vietnamese expatriates living abroad are suspected of transferring the proceeds of narcotics trafficking and other crimes to Vietnamese banks. There is no specific secrecy law covering client and ownership information, but long-standing banking procedures are observed in practice.

Newly approved Article 251 of the Vietnamese Penal Code criminalizes "offenses involving legalizing money and property obtained by criminals". To take effect on July 1, 2000, Vietnam's new anti-money laundering law requires that financial institutions report suspicious transactions and maintain records sufficient to reconstruct significant transactions. Bankers are protected in their dealings with law enforcement authorities, but there is no "due diligence" provision making individual bankers responsible if their institutions launder money. The law also provides for the forfeiture of seized assets.

Vietnam is a signatory to the 1988 UN Drug Convention; it is not a major participant in international money laundering fora. However, Vietnam cooperates with neighboring and regional countries to combat money laundering and serious crimes.

As Vietnam updates its legal framework during its transition to a market economy, implementation of the new law will have an important impact on Vietnam's ability to prevent, detect and prosecute the abuse of its financial system from money laundering.

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) (Concern). Allegations of state-sponsored money laundering and smuggling make Yugoslavia a country of concern for money laundering. With ongoing international sanctions shrinking Yugoslavia's economy, the press reports that government officials and their cronies control state-owned companies, the banking system and the black markets for those goods in short supply. Government officials oversee the smuggling of, and illicit trade in, petroleum products, cigarettes, alcohol, and other goods.

Yugoslavia has not yet criminalized money laundering nor enacted anti-money laundering legislation, and no legislation of this type is pending in Yugoslavia's legislature. Yugoslavia does not belong to any international or regional anti-money laundering organizations.

The level of crime and corruption in Yugoslavia and the absence of anti-money laundering laws encourage a climate favorable to money laundering and other financial crimes. Yugoslavia's European aspirations would be furthered by the enactment anti-money laundering legislation and development of the regulatory and legal framework to monitor and prevent the laundering of criminal proceeds within Yugoslavia, and by cooperation with foreign authorities to investigate and prosecute international money laundering cases.

Zambia (Other). Zambia is not a major financial or money laundering center. However, in an effort to deal with money laundering problems created by drug barons, arms traffickers and automobile theft rings, the Government of Zambia introduced a comprehensive anti-money laundering bill in 1998. That bill was subsequently withdrawn and new legislation introduced that would strengthen the government's ability to deal with money laundering, in part by subjecting commercial banks to investigation and penalties should they fail to implement know-your-customer procedures. Some bankers, however, have complained that the onus on the banks is too heavy. The Minister of Finance, in his budget speech to the Parliament, stated that the passage of the bill is a government priority.

In a further effort to deter money laundering, the Bank of Zambia (BOZ) directed in October 1998 that all bureaux de change transactions with individuals be limited to $5,000; any transactions above that amount were to be handled through commercial banks. The BOZ based its decision on the fact that the bureaux, unlike commercial banks, are not required to follow know your customer procedures, and that there had been an increase in money laundering through the bureaux.

Zimbabwe (Other). Zimbabwe is not a financial or money laundering center. Its position as a significant transit point for drugs coming from the subcontinent destined for the European and South African market, combined with the recent liberalization of its economy, put it at risk for money laundering, although U.S. law enforcement sources report that local banking sources have not yet noted an alarming amount of suspicious activity.

Zimbabwe's Anti-Money Laundering Act criminalized drug-related money laundering. The Law Development Commission of Zimbabwe has drafted a bill to present to Parliament that would strengthen the Act. The draft bill would require financial institutions to establish customer identification procedures and to report transactions above a certain sum to a financial intelligence unit. It would also establish a money laundering board consisting of representatives of government, private, and public financial institutions.

[End.]



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