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News Release October 30, 2002


The Commonwealth Secretariat and the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNODCCP) have launched a joint initiative with the participation of the Pacific Islands Forum to help five Pacific island countries tackle money laundering and related issues.

As part of this initiative the Secretariat and the UNODCCP have employed Bruce Russel, a former member of the New Zealand police force with experience in tackling money laundering. He will be based at the Pacific Islands Forum offices in Fiji Islands.

Mr Russel's role during a one-year assignment will include providing advice during the course of investigations into money laundering cases, training officials dealing with such cases and helping to identify deficiencies in existing legislation used to combat money laundering. The project will cover Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, Samoa and Vanuatu.

The Commonwealth Secretariat also has experts working with the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group, and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force.

Kosi Latu of the Secretariat's Special Advisory Services Division says a recent sub-regional workshop revealed that anti-money laundering action is at a very basic level in most countries. He said a number of countries are working on action plans to identify inadequacies in their legislation to deal with the problem.

The Secretariat began to focus its attention on money laundering after Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Cyprus in 1993 identified it as a serious threat to financial systems worldwide, and committed the 54-member organisation to supporting enhanced international co-operation in combating this financial crime.

The Secretariat has since been instrumental in a number of areas, including the development of a model law, the establishment and support of regional anti-money laundering bodies, the introduction to law schools of curricula on the proceeds of crime, and the production of important resource material. This includes the publication 'A Manual of Best Practice for Combating Money Laundering in the Financial Sector', which has been widely used within and outside the Commonwealth.

CNIS Commonwealth News and Information Service Tel: +44 (0)20 7747 6554 Fax: +44 (0)20 7839 9081 E-mail: 

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Copyright: Commonwealth Secretariat 2002

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