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IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde arrives at a news conference in Tokyo November 12, 2011. REUTERS/Issei Kato

IMF urges countries to “step up” fight against money laundering, terrorism financing

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has challenged governments around the world step up the fight against money launching and terrorism financing.

Managing Director of IMF, Ms. Christine Lagarde, who made the call at a conference on money laundry and terrorism financing noted that those who engage in the Act “exploit vulnerabilities in financial systems to facilitate their crimes.”

According to her, money laundering and terrorist financing can threaten a country’s economic and financial stability while funding violent and illegal acts.

The IMF boss noted that with the level of partnership with many countries through its Measures Against Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT), it has helped them intensify the fight against corruption and tax evasion.

“Large-scale tax evasion,” according to Lagarde “is also problematic, because it typically means less investment in health, education, and other public services. It also means higher economic inequality because the most vulnerable are most affected by lower social spending.”

While calling for new and effective ways of combating the financing of terrorism, the IMF boss said governments need to increasingly harness the power of financial technology in addition to ensuring that small and fragile economies have access to correspondent-banking services that connect them to the global financial system as it will help minimise money laundering and terrorism financing.

The Head of the Bretton Wood Institution acknowledged the need for greater international cooperation in order to eradicate the scourges of terrorism, corruption, tax evasion, and financial exclusion.

“Of course, this is a never-ending task because criminals tend to be highly motivated and, in many cases, highly skilled as well as ahead of the curve,” she said.

Quoting novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott, she insisted that “by standing together as one, we can cut through the tangled web of suspicious transactions and bring the deceivers to justice. This is good for financial integrity, and good for inclusive growth that benefits all.”

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