Cooperation between Russian financial intelligence and the IMF: At what price?

As they say in the West, there is no free lunch

Experts of the IMF delegation arrived in Moscow to teach the committee of financial monitoring of the Russian Finance Ministry how to find dirty money. IMF spokesmen say that they are not interested in taking over control functions. The goal of such cooperation is mutually beneficial consultations. The IMF has finally found a new field for its activity against the background that its role currently suffers from some sort of uncertainty due to the global economic setback. The IMF provides consultations concerning anti-money laundering issues the struggle against the funding of world terrorism.

PRAVDA.Ru asked Mikhail Alekseyev, deputy chairman of the ROSBANK administration, to comment on the situation.

“The IMF’s participation in anti-money laundering activity may seem to be rather strange at first. Indeed, such activity is associated with other organizations established for this purpose. For example, FATF, GPML, and other international and national structures. Until recently, the IMF and other international financial institutions have not been active in this field. At the same time, it seems that they have certain opportunities to take their own place among those structures that deal with issues of money laundering.

“The committee of financial monitoring of the Russian Finance Ministry does not have the requisite potential, technology, or experience yet to handle and cope with all of its tasks. This gap could be filled with consulting or technical help from more experienced foreign colleagues. International organizations like the IMF have rather strong positions in terms of such help. The question is on what basis will this help be provided?

“Help usually is provided by means of loans that can be given to adequate recipients. Russia’s problem the fact that the sum of its foreign debt is too large. In this connection, the government is conducting activities that are aimed to limit the volume of foreign debts. That is why raising new loans (even for such a noble goal as the struggle with money laundering) might not go together with the current relations with international financial institutions. In addition, it is well known that the efficiency of the loans given to support consulting and technical help is not always good enough.

“Sometimes, it happens that much of the money that is supposed to be paid back with interest is used for paying the services of rather expensive advisors. This money can also be used for the arrangement of their trips, documents, and so on.

“There is a saying in the West: there is no free lunch. Therefore, will this consulting help result in the forming of additional channels for international financial intelligence services to obtain information from the databases of national anti-money laundering structures? Currently, there is the official right of the adequate structures of different countries to form data no open to other countries.

“The world has not yet reached the point when it is possible to talk about the introduction of the information-without-borders principle. Databases contain much valuable information with limited access.

“The personnel of the Russian committee for financial monitoring earn between $50-100 a month. Will those people be efficient in the "anti-money laundering struggle?" We would like to hope that these problems will be settled correctly, including a salary raise to those who are in control of important strategic informational sources.

“It would be proper to start the process with adequate salary payments to financial intelligence personnel. Then, it would be ok to give them the information and let them work with foreign investors. If all these details are taken into consideration, then we can only welcome cooperation between the national financial intelligence and international financial institutions."

Prepared by Dmitry Slobodanuk PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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