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Banks 'withdrawing from embassy trading'

22 November 2010

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Banks 'withdrawing from embassy trading'
A number of US banks are pulling out of trading with some overseas embassies because of the legal burden of complying with money-laundering legislation, a report has claimed.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the State Department has warned that as many as 40 countries - 16 of them African - could be affected by the financial institutions' stance, prompting fears American foreign relations could be adversely affected.

"It's a commercial decision, but clearly it has ramifications for diplomatic relations," said acting deputy spokesman Mark Toner. "We want these foreign missions to be able to carry out their normal diplomatic functions here in the US."

Bank of America closed the Angolan embassy's account on November 9th 2010 and ambassador Ismael Gaspar Martins admitted his agency will face considerable difficulties in maintaining its operations.

The news came after America's deputy Treasury secretary Mark Wolin told the Financial Times that global governments are unlikely to agree on one set framework for banking regulation.

By Claire Archer

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