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ALOFI, Niue (March 19, 2002 – Radio Australia)---An offshore bank registered in Niue is considering legal action against the government if it withdraws the bank’s operating license.

Premier Sani Lakatani announced several weeks ago that the Assembly would pass legislation this month repealing the authority of offshore banks, in a bid to have Niue removed from an international OECD money laundering and tax haven blacklist.

The listing has prevented the allocation of international development aid funds to Niue.

However, the legislation was never presented to the Assembly.

Acting Attorney General Togia Sioneholo said the government’s draft legislation was withheld at the last minute because of the legal dispute with one of the offshore banks.

The delay is likely to keep Niue on the OECD blacklist and affect long-term foreign assistance, PACNEWS reported.

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

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