RESOLUTION TO PACIFIC BANKING BAN IN SIGHT

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NEW YORK, New York (February 9, 2000)---Banking officials in the Pacific are hopeful there will be an early resolution to the crisis created by a U.S. State Department report on money laundering.

Four American banks, led by the Bank of New York, have banned the transaction of American dollars in Nauru, Vanuatu, Niue and Palau, after a report claimed US$ 70 billion was laundered through Nauru alone.

A delegation of bankers from the Pacific has been in New York to explain the effects of the ban.

The Pacific Manager of the ANZ Bank, Bob Lyon, said he is hoping the ban will end soon.

"We get the feeling that people haven't made the differentiation between onshore and offshore banks.

"The 70 billion dollars that allegedly went through Nauru would not have actually gone through Nauru," Lyon told Radio Australia.

"In fact I don't think any Pacific country ever sees any laundered money at all. Not even a dollar. It happens a long way from home."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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