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Friday, January 25, 2008

Russia brings in new law on foreign officials' financial deals

MOSCOW, January 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is tightening its control over financial transactions by foreign officials as a new version of the law on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism comes into effect on January 15. The law obliges Russian banks, pawn shops, insurers and other organizations to ascertain and record the origins and destinations of monies received and sent by foreign public officials. The same measures also apply to their relatives. According to the Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring), foreign public officials are defined in accordance with clause b, article 2 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, to which Russia is a party. Under the convention, a foreign public official means any person holding a legislative, executive, administrative or judicial office of a foreign country, whether appointed or elected, and any person exercising a public function for a foreign country, including for a public agency or public enterprise. Andrei Yemelin, vice-president of the Association of Russian Banks, said the new law would narrow possibilities for foreign officials who may be involved in money laundering to carry out transactions through commercial banks. At the same time, Yemelin stressed the need to harmonize Russia's definition of money-laundering with Western standards in order to prevent any legal uncertainty.

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