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    CIS FOR MONEY-LAUNDER INSPECTION BY FALL?

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    PARIS, FEBRUARY 27 (RIA Novosti correspondent Andrei Nizamutdinov) - The Commonwealth of Independent States may establish, by next fall, a regional analogue of the FATF, an influential international agency fighting money laundering and terrorism financing, says Viktor Zubkov, Russia's First Deputy Finance Minister, and Financial Monitoring Committee president.

    Novosti interviewed Mr. Zubkov at a FATF plenary session he is taking part in.

    A Russian proposal to establish a FATF analogue in Central Asia received wide acclaim. Not only the FATF itself approved it - the idea was met with enthusiasm in the USA, France, the UK, the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

    A related seminar gathered in Moscow early this month to represent a majority of CIS countries, many countries outside the post-Soviet area, and international financial agencies. Chinese interest in the idea deserves particular notice, said Mr. Zubkov.

    As Foreign Ministers of the CIS countries meet in conference in Minsk, toward the end of March, Russia intends to give a detailed account of its initiative, and expects the conferees to approve it. If political support is secured, we can set up an ad hoc team to draft statutory and normative documents for such a regional organization. The drafts will be streamlined, later on, to offer them to a CIS prime-ministerial conference, due late in April. If that is done, the organization may be established even by fall to start practical work, said our interviewee.

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