See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Economics

Illicit financial flows devastating developing countries, PM Imran tells UN event

It is worst for the developing countries Imran said.


Written by

Updated: September 27, 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that while it is true that illicit financial flows adversely affect wealthy countries, such movement of ill-gotten money is “devastating the developing countries” across the world.

The premier was addressing an event called ‘High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development’ at the United Nations in New York, on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.

“I do not think people fully realise the impact it (illicit financial flows) is having in causing poverty, death and destruction in human development in the developing world,” said Prime Minister Imran, who was welcomed to the dialogue with a huge round of applause from the audience.

He said in the last decade Pakistan had a corrupt leadership which took the national debt accumulated over 60 years up by four times in the last 10 years. “Most of the money that was made out of corruption was sent outside,” the premier said, adding that the funds that could have been spent on human development in the country ended up in offshore bank accounts and western capitals.

“We have been trying our best to retrieve that money,” he said, conceding that even when his government locates properties made from illegal money by Pakistanis abroad, it faces a number of legal lacunas and difficulties in trying to bring that money back.

He called upon developed countries to do better as far as the return of illicit wealth is concerned, saying “There is a lack of political will in the rich countries because they gain from it.”

The poorer countries on the other hand do not have the resources to retrieve the laundered money, he added.

Prime Minister Imran said the aid given by the richer countries to the poor countries is “miniscule” when compared to the money stolen from the latter and taken abroad.

“I do not understand why in this day and age you have these offshore safe tax havens,” he said, wondering why rich countries continue to protect tax evaders.

He stressed upon the need to treat money laundered from poor countries to rich nations in the same way as “drug money” and terror financing “because it kills far more people”.

Addressing the same event earlier, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stressed upon cooperation between countries to curb corruption and the flow of illegal funds.

“Collaboration is crucial in cracking down on tax avoidance, tax evasion, corruption and illicit financial flows that deprive developing countries of tens of billions of dollars of potential resources for their development every year,” he said.

“Cooperation will also be necessary in addressing the new challenge of taxing the digital economy.”

The discussion also saw other leaders and experts stressing on the importance of clamping down on illicit financial flows.

Sneha Shah, a financial analyst with Thomson Reuters’ Refinitiv, shared alarming figures with the forum including that 86 per cent of the ill-gotten money is flowing through the global banking system.

“We are losing 1.5 trillion dollars in illicit financial flows each year and we are not winning this battle. How much we are recovering? One per cent of that wealth,” she said. “And 86pc flowing is through the banking system, so we are not winning.”



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Dawn
About the Author: Dawn is Pakistan's oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Economics

‘History will take note of those who ridiculed removal of Article 370’: PM Modi in Maharashtra

PM Modi also expressed confidence that the BJP will break all victory records in the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly elections. Prime Minister on Thursday once again lashed out at the opposition saying that history will take note of those who mocked the abrogation of Article 370, that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. “Whenever Article 370 will be discussed in history, — the decision that was taken in the interest of the country — the people who opposed and ridiculed will be remembered,” PM Modi said while addressing a poll rally in Maharashtra’s Parli. He said the next week’s state Assembly elections were a battle between BJP’s “karyashakti” (power of development) and opposition’s “swarth shakti” (selfishness). Further targeting the Congress and NCP leaders, he wondered if “frustrated and dejected” people could do anything good for people. “A Congress


By The Statesman
October 18, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

More changes friendly to foreign investors on way in China

China is courting more FDI as their cash reserves run lower. China will roll out more measures friendly to foreign investors, including further removing business restrictions and leveling the playing field for foreign businesses, to foster a more enabling business environment and attract overseas investment. The decision was made on Wednesday at a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. Meeting participants decided to open up more areas. Restrictive measures outside the national and FTZ negative lists on foreign investors’ market access will be consolidated. Restrictions will be lifted on the business scope for those foreign-invested banks, securities companies and fund management firms that are already operating in China. Policies on foreign investment in the automobile industry will be refined, including giving equal treatment in market access to domestic and foreig


By China Daily
October 18, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

Malaysia’s PM Mahathir says rail line RTS linking Johor Baru to Singapore to proceed

The rail line has been on again and off again. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday (Oct 17) said Malaysia will proceed with the 4km Johor Baru to Singapore rail line. His comments about the Rapid Transit System (RTS) rail link followed that of Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke on Tuesday that details of the project will be decided by the Malaysian Cabinet within two weeks. Tun Dr Mahathir said when asked by reporters on Thursday: “We will proceed with the RTS but we will take some time.” Asked if this meant the Malaysian government had resolved 


By The Straits Times
October 18, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

S. Korean, ASEAN officials look ahead to special summit and stronger regional ties

Korea has increasingly look to Southeast Asia as an export destination and regional partners. Ahead of the highly anticipated summit in Busan next month between the leaders of South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, top officials from participating countries gathered in the southern port city Wednesday and voiced high expectations for the future of the relationship between South Korea and the ASEAN nations. South Korean Ambassador to ASEAN Lim Sung-nam, ASEAN-Korea Center Secretary-General Lee Hyuk, Busan Mayor Oh Keo-don and Myanmar Ambassador to South Korea U Thant Sin said they looked forward to the upcoming summit, calling it a steppingstone to stronger South Korea-ASEAN ties and to economic prosperity and peace on the Korean Peninsula. “In the past 30 years, the relationship between South Korea and ASEAN has grown to an astonishing degree. Trade volume rose 20-fold and human e


By The Korea Herald
October 18, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

BOK slashes key rate to record-low 1.25%

The government hopes to stimulate a stagnating economy. South Korea’s central bank on Wednesday cut the country’s key interest rate to 1.25 percent, reflecting the sluggish economic growth, low inflation and declining exports. Its second rate cut in three months — to the lowest ever level — is in line with the global trend toward monetary easing. “We have cut the base rate considering the lower-than-expected growth outlook and low inflation,” said Bank of Korea Gov. Lee Ju-yeol in a press conference.The BOK’s rate-setting Monetary Policy Board decided to lower the base rate by 25 basis points from 1.5 percent that it had set three months ago. The move paralleled the US Fed Reserve’s decision last month to lower its key interest rate to the 1.75-2 percent range, down 25 basis points from the previous 2-2.25 percent range. The BOK board cited contractions in trade, sl


By The Korea Herald
October 17, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

We will never abandon people of occupied Kashmir, says Army chief during LoC visit

The army chief said that the Pakistan army will fulfil its role no matter the cost. Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa while visiting troops stationed along the Line of Control (LoC) on Wednesday vowed “to never leave Kashmiris alone” in their fight against Indian oppression. “Kashmiris in IOJ&K are bravely facing Indian atrocities under continued siege. We shall never leave them alone and play our rightful role at whatever cost”, said Gen Bajwa. Gen Bajwa’s remarks followed a briefing of the “deliberate targeting of civilians” by Indian troops and the response by Pakistan’s armed forces. A day earlier, at least three civilians died and eight others were injured in Azad Jammu and Kashmir after Indian troops resorted to “indiscri


By Dawn
October 17, 2019