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Putin: Ready to Combat Terror Funds

May 27, 2002

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MOSCOW (AP) _ Russia is ready to cooperate with European efforts to cut off funding for terrorists, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday.

``Russia is prepared to join with Europe in fighting illegal financing and networks that sustain terrorists,″ Putin said at the opening of the fifth congress of the European Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions.

One of the anti-terrorism goals outlined by Putin and President Bush during last weekend’s summit was to make it difficult for terrorists to secure funding.

Putin has strongly supported the U.S.-led anti-terror campaign, which began after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Russia will create a special agency to detect and fight money laundering, including by terrorists, Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov was quoted by ITAR-Tass news agency as saying Monday.

Money laundering involves moving money earned illegally through various accounts to make it appear legitimate.

Sergei Stepashin, the head of Russia’s parliamentary Audit Chamber, said at Monday’s congress that Russia now is in a good position to tackle financial crimes.

Russia has a new law against money laundering and a new Financial Monitoring Committee authorized to ``track down dubious financial transactions,″ Stepashin said, according to ITAR-Tass.

He also said one of Russia’s priorities would be to fully adopt international methods of bookkeeping and financial accounting.

``This switchover ... will make the Russian economy more transparent,″ ITAR-Tass quoted Stepashin as saying.

Stepashin now takes over the presidency of the European Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions from France’s Francois Logerot.

Russia’s efforts against financial crimes came after accusations that Russian banks were involved in international money laundering and the government was failing to stem such activity.

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