Nation joins groups against money laundering
China plans to work closer with other countries as it ups the ante in the fight against money laundering and terrorism funding.
The country, a founding member of the Euro-Asian Group on Combating Money-Laundry and Financing of Terrorism (EAG), is playing a very active role promoting co-operation among EAG members, said Ling Tao, director of the Bank of China's bureau in charge of countering money laundering.
The EAG, established in October 2004, also includes Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kyrghizstan and Tajikistan.
Ling said the country is applying for membership at the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), a major intergovernmental organization launched in 1989 by the Group-7 Summit.
"We always have an open, pragmatic attitude in multilateral and bilateral co-operation in the fight against money laundering," he said.
On the home front, Ling said China puts priority on improving its legal system as well as monitoring, analysis and law enforcement systems.
Resources will also go towards building a professional team to fight laundering, which is always linked to other crimes, he said.
In China, it is mostly related to smuggling, drug trafficking and terrorism.
Some estimates peg the amount of money laundered in the country at US$20 billion every year.
However, legal experts said the country's definition of money laundering is too narrow to deal with increasingly sophisticated operations.
To address this problem, the nation's law-making body, the National People's Congress, set up a team to draft a new law in March 2004.
Ling, whose bureau co-ordinates anti-money laundering efforts at the central government, said 23 related government departments have been mobilized to play a part in the fight.
The next step will be to enhance inter-provincial co-operation, he said.
Banking, securities, real estate and insurance have been marked as sensitive sectors.
Law firms, accounting firms and jewellery companies are also in the list of places that need to be scrutinized, he said.
The People's Bank of China in 2003 issued regulations on reporting of suspicious transactions by financial institutions. The regulations mainly affect banks.
Ling said similar regulations and monitoring systems will be developed for other sensitive sectors.
According to Ling, authorities are paying close attention to key cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen and major areas like Southwest China's Yunnan Province and Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.