Need to crackdown on money laundering 'ruthlessly': Pranab

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    Committed to the full implementation of international standards to combat money laundering and terror financing, India today said it was making suitable amendments to converge the country's existing laws with the recommendations of the global Financial Action Task Force.

    In order to make the Prevention of Money Laundering and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Acts more effective, India was in the process of making 'suitable' amendments to the two acts to bring them in line with the core and key recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said while inaugurating the five-day meeting of the Asia-Pacific Group on 'Money Laundering' here.

    He said, "The capabilities against money laundering and terrorist financing should be strengthened by all nations to ensure an effective, efficient and more productive crusade against this menace."

    Global responses to the challenges of money laundering could be in the form of raising awareness about the phenomenon, especially the socio-economic impact, creating the necessary legal and institutional frameworks and effective law enforcement and international cooperation, among others.

    Stressing the need for mutual legal assistance, especially in extradition and exchange of information and intelligence among enforcement agencies, he said technical assistance and cooperation must be strengthened in a "robust manner".

    Although it was not possible to make a suitable estimate of the amount of money laundered, the quantum of money generated from criminal activities and laundered throughout the world is believed to be several billions of dollars, up to as much as 2 to 5 per cent of the global GDP, he said.

    Left unchecked, money laundering can undermine the integrity of any financial system and embroil individual financial institutions in share-crippling financial scandals, he said, calling for collective efforts to deal with it "ruthlessly".

    The huge quantum of money being generated from criminal activities and money laundering gave the beneficiaries a "lot of muscle" and "certainly enough means to threaten political stability worldwide", Mukherjee said.

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