|Vol.7, No.26, 28.6.01, p5
HUNGARY must clean up its act on money laundering if its wants to stay a front-runner for EU membership, the European Commission has warned.
A report published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Financial Action Task Force (FATF) includes Hungary on its blacklist of 'non-cooperative' countries.
These are states considered to be the world's worst havens for money laundering.
The list also includes the Philippines, Myanmar and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Commission spokesman Jean-Christophe Filori said the news was likely to lead to some tough talking with Budapest.
He added: "We will certainly look into this report carefully and expect Hungary to make vigorous efforts to deal with this issue."
Filori added that it was too early to say for certain whether the news would have a long-term impact on Hungary's EU membership bid, but insisted that the country needs to step up its actions against money laundering.
The FATF report also questioned just how vigorous the Commission's own assessment of Hungary's money-laundering activities has been.
In its most recent progress report on Hungary's preparations for Union membership, which was published last November, the institution recognised the country had a problem with money laundering.
But it argued that Budapest had started to put in place measures to tackle it and seemed to suggest that the situation was improving.Critics point out that if this analysis was accurate, Hungary should not have ended up on the FATF blacklist nearly half-a-year later. "It's not exactly a compliment to be on this list," complained one official.
Hungary must clean up its act on money laundering if it wants to stay a front-runner for EU membership, the European Commission has warned. A report published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Financial Action Task Force (FATF) includes Hungary on its blacklist of 'non-cooperative' countries.
|Countries / Regions