COMBATING INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CRIME: RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN EUROPE
International financial crime - tax evasion, money laundering and financing terrorism -- is a generic term referring to the placement and movement of financial assets that have their source in criminal activities, which is occurring in greater magnitude and with greater frequency in the global economy. Because of three powerful forces that are propelling change in the field of finance - technological change, regulatory change and globalization -- financial crime is quickly becoming a "growth industry" in the new millennium. The lead international agencies that are spearheading a coordinated multilateral approach to the problem are the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which overseas the growing problem of international tax evasion, and the Financial Action Task Force, which develops guidelines to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The European Union, after more than a decade of negotiations, has reached a compromise agreement that harmonizes tax rates on non-resident savings income, though it is still a work in progress. This paper examines the initiatives of the above three institutions and provides a "status report" of the compliance of four European offshore financial centers - Switzerland, Luxembourg, the Isle of Man, and Liechtenstein - with these institutions' guidelines. This paper was presented at the 13th international conference in Vaasa, Finland, May 2003.
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The text is part of a series International Trade and Finance Association Conference Papers Number 1061
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