Debate - Opinion in English, Russia and Baltic States
Debate - Opinion in English
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Moscow Gets New Tool for Money Monitoring November 5, 200 Russian President Vladimir Putin has created a financial intelligence agency to combat money laundering. The agency will help clean up Russias often questionable financial sector, solidify Moscows growing cooperation with the United States and Europe and empower the Kremlin to repatriate much of the money oligarchs have squirreled away abroad Russian President Vladimir Putin on Oct. 31 created a financial intelligence agency, dubbed the Financial Monitoring Committee, to fight money laundering. The office will be responsible for investigating financial crimes -- making it an ideal tool for use against terrorists and oligarchs. As a result, the new agency could do much to improve Putins standing both at home and in the West. Perhaps most important, the FMC could get Russia removed from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Developments black list of money-laundering states. Although the FMC will not turn Russia into an investors dream, it should help prune much of the uncertainty and corruption that hinders economic activity. The agency, to be led by Deputy Finance Minister Viktor Zubkov, is under the authority of the powerful Finance Ministry. Four hundred auditors will begin work Feb. 1, the same day a new package of laws combating dirty financial practices takes effect. The FMC is a coup for Putins efforts to ingratiate himself with the West. During the past decade, Russia has been known as one of the worlds most notorious money-laundering centers. The oligarchs used their political pull to create loopholes in financial laws so they could evade taxes and international financial-monitoring bodies. Using influence, the oligarchs funneled much of Russias capital flight-- estimated at $20 billion annually by the State Statistics Committee -- into safe havens abroad.
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