Putin calls for money laundering crack-down

18 September 2006

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for the country's financial sector to crack down on suspicious banking practices, following the murder of a senior central bank official.

Mr Putin called a meeting of top bankers and regulators to discuss the scale of fraud and money laundering problems involving Russian financial institutions after Andrei Kozlov, deputy chairman of the central bank, was gunned down last week.

It is believed that his death was the result of his tough stance against illegal banking activity.

"The use of banking institutions for criminal ends is, unfortunately, continuing," Mr Putin told bankers, admitting the problem.

"We are witnessing the laundering of billions of rubles every month as well as transfers of vast funds abroad," he said, adding that the laundered funds were being used for "massive bribes, for criminal ends in the wider sense of the word".

He said that a task force made up of prosecutors, the security services and central bankers would be set up in order to combat the growth of illegal activity in this sector.

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