Global Policy Forum

G-7 May Sanction Israel Over Money Laundering


By Tal Muscal

The Jerusalem Post
July 10, 2000

Israel may be sanctioned by the G-7 nations over non- enforcement of money-laundering laws, the organization stated over the weekend.

In a move to stop international money laundering, the finance ministers of the US, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan threatened to advise private banks to blacklist and sanction 15 countries, including Israel.

Meeting in Fukuoka, Japan, the G-7 ministers agreed on a series of tough statements aimed at bringing an end to non-cooperation by nations and territories. Sanctions and blacklisting would be the first step in aggressively combating dirty money and cracking down on violators.

Last month's Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Financial Action Task Force report identified Israel as a center for financial crime and money laundering. Legislation has been brought before the US Congress to ban financial dealings with countries cited in the report.

"We are following up recent listings of jurisdictions with flawed money-laundering regimes," said US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers.

The listed countries, in addition to Israel, are: the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Panama, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Cook Islands, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, the Philippines, Russia, Liechtenstein, and Lebanon.

Also discussed by the G-7 was linking support for loans from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank with the fight against lax money-laundering laws by the "non-cooperative" nations.

"We've named, we've shamed, and we're taking measures to fight it," saida French Finance Minister Laurent Fabius about the countries that fail to comply with OECD guidelines for disclosure, enforcement, and cooperation in eliminating harmful tax practices.

Six countries and territories have promised to comply with financial regulations to end money laundering by the end 2005: Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Malta, Mauritius, and San Marino.

The task force is made up of 26 OECD members, plus the European Commission and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

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