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Press Release - 18 July 2001

Offshore and onshore centres must fight together against international financial crime - Jersey conference

In the fight against financial crime, there is no longer a difference between offshore and onshore financial centres. The real issue today is compliance with international standards, standards of regulation and the extent of international co-operation that financial centres are able and willing to give.

This was a key conclusion of a major conference of international financial regulators law enforcement and justice ministry officials held in Jersey this week, organised by the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC).

In a final communiqué at the end of the conference, all countries and jurisdictions with financial centres were urged to increase the resources given to the fight against international financial crime as part of their strategies to combat crime in their own countries

Closing the conference, JFSC Chairman Colin Powell said: "Co-operation among international regulators is increasingly essential to fight financial crime today. The criminals move ever faster to stay ahead of financial regulation. We must equip ourselves to move faster still. Clear responsibility for co-ordinating international initiatives in the fight against international financial crime is vital if conflicting standards and duplication of effort are to be avoided."

JFSC Director General, Richard Pratt added: "Information-sharing is not just about specific cases. It is also vital that key agencies and working groups share their policy-making and regulatory development processes. Without this, we risk developing different and conflicting standards and wasting time - which we do not have.

"It was highly visible throughout the conference that a broad range of initiatives is under way and there is an encouraging level of information sharing already taking place. But there remains a clear need to intensify our efforts to make the process of co-operation and assistance more efficient, so as to make life harder for financial criminals."

The conference also drew the following conclusions:

Stronger measures are needed to discourage the abuse of financial centres by public figures seeking to launder the proceeds of corruption.

Different legal and constitutional traditions in different countries can lead to misunderstandings when seeking co-operation and assistance, and every effort should be made to understand those differences; work to resolve them; and ensure that real co-operation does take place.

Barriers to international co-operation frequently arise from a lack of understanding of the way requests for assistance should be framed, and how they should be submitted. Greater use should be made of Memoranda of Understanding between jurisdictions to help overcome these problems.


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