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OSCE meeting to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism

VIENNA, 6 February 2012 – The OSCE’s practical contribution to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism, and defining a strategic way forward in this area are the focus of a meeting between representatives from 56 countries which started in Vienna today.

During the two-days, officials, investigative journalists, civil society, international organizations and private sector experts will discuss prevention and suppression mechanisms, co-operation between agencies and international information exchange, as well as the engagement of the public and business sector, including private financial institutions in countering money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Speaking on behalf of Ireland as OSCE Chairmanship 2012, Brian Hayes, Minister of State at the Department of Finance, stressed that good governance is a priority of this year’s work in the OSCE economic and environmental dimension. “Good governance at all levels contributes to prosperity, stability and security,” he said, adding that the corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing “flourish where governance is weak and ineffective”.

Minister Hayes cited effective national risk assessment, proper implementation of anti-money laundering legislation and a state’s ability to confiscate the proceeds of criminal activity as critical aspects in the fight against money laundering, and said that the work of the Criminal Assets Bureau established in Ireland in 1996 provides a “role model” that will be profiled during future meetings, specifically the one in Dublin.

The OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier addressing the meeting stressed the trend of the intensification of organized crime and terrorist activity, and the need for a robust and multi-faceted international response to them.

He encouraged participants to "think beyond the borders of the economic anbd environmental dimension, taking into account the OSCE's comprehensive approach to security and in particular the Organization's efforts to address transnational threats".

Goran Svilanović, Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, described the work of the OSCE in “leveraging the political will of its participating States” to adopt and effectively implement recognized international standards, and the Organization’s “catalytic role in bringing technical expertise to participating States that request it”, specifically through the Organization’s field presences.

Svilanović said the Vienna meeting offered “an opportunity to learn from others and identify weaknesses and gaps in our work”, as well as “to better define the OSCE’s goals and strategies” in combating money laundering and terrorist financing, which together pose “grave threats to our individual and collective security”.

This is the first preparatory meeting for the 20th OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum. The second preparatory meeting for the Forum is to be held in Dublin on 23 and 24 April, followed by the concluding meeting of the Forum in Prague from 12 to 14 September 2012.