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Cashing In.

INTERNATIONAL LAW OFFICERS ON THE TRAIL OF MONEY launderers face new setbacks a proliferation of casinos in Latin America and the spread of Internet gambling, especially in the Caribbean. Both promise easy outlets for drug traffickers and others who launder an estimated US$600 billion in criminal funds annually.

The debate heated up recently when a task force for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development released a list of 15 countries--including Panama and several Caribbean nations--it says tolerates money laundering.

"They are being given the opportunity over the next 12 months to determine whether or not they wish to work with the OECD to eliminate harmful features of their regime."

OECD statement threatening trade sanctions.

"Small as we are, we are a sovereign nation and we're not going to permit some official sitting in Washington or Paris or London to tell us how we'll provide economic opportunities for our people."

Dwyer Astaphan, minister of Tourism, International Telecommunications, Commerce and Consumer Affairs for St. Kitts & Nevis.

"It's possible to decrease money laundering. But it's impossible to stop it."

Gary Peters, U.S. Department of Treasury.

"We make no apologies."

Gary Collins, Antigua Gaming Committee.

"Gambling is an activity where the only product that changes hands is money. And it's done with very little paper trail."

Alonzo Butler, Bahamas Gaming Board.

"A casino can be a huge washing machine designed only for the laundering of money."

Pierre Lapaque, deputy director of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force.

SOURCE: LATIN TRADE
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Publication:Latin Trade
Date:Oct 1, 2000
Words:249
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