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    RUSSIA READY TO GIVE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO MINI-FATF IN CIS

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    MOSCOW, February 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is ready to allocate up to one million dollars for technical assistance in setting up a regional organization within the CIS to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism, Alexei Kudrin, the deputy prime minister and finance minister, said at a conference on the CIS countries' cooperation in this sphere on Tuesday.

    "We propose supporting the establishment of a regional group inside the FATF (Financial Action Task Force), and ensuring a respective regime and coordination of our joint actions," Mr. Kudrin said.

    He expressed hope that Russia's initiative to establish a regional organization to combat money laundering would be backed by the CIS countries.

    "At the first stage we are ready to allocate up to one million dollars for technical support of establishment of such a system," Mr. Kudrin stressed.

    In his opinion, globalization has transformed terrorism, and terrorism has merged with transnational crime. He said that within a short time Russia managed to set up a structure for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism. But, Mr. Kudrin added, "this is of little efficiency within one country."

    "Today terrorism has embraced the whole world, and our task is to pool our efforts in the struggle against this evil, and to develop new technologies of control over the flows of funds which have been received in a criminal way or may be channeled into financing terrorism," Mr. Kudrin stressed.

    "Our work can prevent many crimes and terrorist acts and preserve people's lives," he stressed.

    The initiative to establish, under Russia's aegis, a regional organization for combating money laundering was first launched by Viktor Zubkov, the head of Russia's financial monitoring committee, at a FATF session in Stockholm in fall 2003. This was the first time Russia participated in a FATF session as full and equal member.

    Mr. Zubkov voiced this initiative again at the session of the Russian economic and financial forum in Zurich at the beginning of February 2004.

    Such regional organizations operate in the Asia Pacific region, the Caribbean, Europe, South Africa and South America.

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