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    FATF REGIONAL ANALOGUE TO BE FORMED IN CIS BY AUTUMN

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    PARIS, February 28, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Andrei Nizamutdinov). A regional analogue of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing can be formed in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) by autumn, Russian Deputy Finance Minister, head of the Financial Monitoring Committee (KFM) Viktor Zubkov told RIA Novosti. He took part in a FATF plenary session in Paris.

    According to Zubkov, Russia's initiative to form a FATF analogue in Central Asia enjoyed wide international support. It was approved by the FATF, the USA, France, Great Britain, the UN, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

    In early February Moscow hosted a seminar on this initiative with most CIS countries, some foreign states and international financial organizations, Zubkov said. In his words, China was highly interested in this initiative.

    Officials of Central Asian embassies took part in the seminar because these countries have no KMF analogues, Zubkov noted. "The seminar was positively assessed by the participants. Georgia, Armenia and some other countries are willing to cooperate with us," the KFM head said.

    According to him, Russia is to announce its initiative and to enlist the support at the session of the CIS Foreign Ministers in late March.

    "If we gain political support, a working group to draft normative and regulation documents of the regional organization," Zubkov said. The drafting will take 1-1.5 months. After that, the documents will be submitted to the session of CIS prime ministers in late April.

    The FATF head promised to back Russia and to send a relevant letter to this session, Zubkov stressed.

    "If we follow this path, the organization will be formed and start working in autumn," the KFM head noted.

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