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Pranab Mukherjee describes money laundering as a global menace

Thursday, 1 May 2014 - 5:12pm IST | Agency: PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee today asked Enforcement Directorate to achieve greater efficiency and cooperate with concerned international agencies to expedite steps to bring back "stolen assets spirited abroad".

Mukherjee made this veiled reference to blackmoney during the second 'Enforcement Day' function organised by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The function was attended by President of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Vladimir Nechaev and Federal Office of Justice Swiss Confederation Mario Michel Affentranger among others.

"The Directorate should aim to work out modalities with international partners so that action with regard to restoration of stolen assets spirited abroad is expedited," he said and asked it to interact with multilateral fora like FATF, the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG) and the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG).

He said the cooperation needs to be optimally utilised by the ED for bilateral exchanges and follow up with counterpart enforcement agencies for better mutual cooperation on Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT).

He also called for an international cooperation to tackle cross-border money laundering and terror financing so that a more "business friendly" legitimate investments flow into the country. 

"Effective measures against Money Laundering and Terror Financing are essential in today's global economic and security environment, and these are rightly being addressed on priority by most countries.

"Such measures also foster a more business friendly setting and facilitate legitimate investments and financial flows," the President said at the function which was also attended by Revenue Secretary Rajeev Takru.

The President said India too has put in place a strong Anti Money Laundering legislation, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to counter the menace.

"I also had the privilege of introducing in Parliament the Amendment Bill 2011 of the PMLA, through which, our nation strengthened the money laundering legislation, in line with the Recommendations of FATF," Mukherjee said while recalling his days as the Union Finance Minister.

He drew attention about the presence of Affentranger and said it underlines the growing bilateral cooperation on law enforcement matters between Switzerland and India, as also the partnership between the counterpart agencies.

"Money laundering is a global menace, and law enforcement agencies of all countries have to cooperate to fight it," he said.

India has been pressing Switzerland to give details of some Indians having money in the banks in that country but the Swiss authorities maintain they would be furnishing details of cases only after 2012 when Direct Tax Avoidance Treaty came into effect.

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