Viktor Zubkov, Chairman of Russian Financial Monitoring Committee, holds consultations with French financial intelligence chiefs

Viktor Zubkov, the Chairman of the Russian Financial Monitoring Committee and First Deputy Finance Minister, is conducting consultations in Paris with the chiefs of the French TRACFIN financial intelligence. "The results of the first few days of the negotiations are very promising for the establishment of close cooperation between the two departments," Viktor Zubkov said in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti. The Russian Financial Monitoring Committee is very young, he said. It was established on the instructions of President Vladimir Putin on February 1st, 2002. Its prime task is to fight economic crime and block all channels of illegal export of capitals from Russia and money laundering abroad, Viktor Zubkov stressed. By this April the information the Committee had obtained in various Russian banks, insurance and leasing companies on financial fraud on the part of certain Russian companies or organisations, including private individuals, allowed the Committee to launch grounded cases into it that have already been filed to Russian law enforcements. Viktor Zubkov's French interlocutors stated that Russia "has managed to make a breakthrough in the business it has been charged with over two months, while it took years for analogous Western services to fulfil the same task," Alain Cadiou, the TRACFIN Secretary General and the Director General of the French Customs Service, said in the course of negotiations with the Russian official. Viktor Zubkov and Alain Cadiou have discussed problems faced by structures of the TRACFIN service established in France in 1990, the range of duties of its chiefs, the heads of departments and rank-and-file staffers. The Russian Financial Monitoring Committee Chairman has given Alain Cadiou an official invitation to visit Russia and to examine the Committee's activity. The invitation was kindly accepted. The dates of the visit will be co-ordinated after presidential and parliamentary elections due in France in spring or early summer of 2002. Viktor Zubkov has laid particular stress on his meeting with Patrick Moullet, Executive Director of the Financial Action Task Force /FATF/ established by the G7 a few years ago. The group once listed Russia among the countries laundering money abroad. Zubkov has managed to ensure that "Russia will be removed from the black list" at this body's June session in Paris. He added that "France, the USA, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Slovenia acted Russia's guarantors for the country to enter the Egmont international financial intelligence organisation which was established in Belgium in the early 1990s and has 59 countries as its members." "The final decision on the given issue will be taken at an annual session of the Egmont group in early June this year in Monaco. Russia has already filed all juridical documents to the secretariat of this organisation," Viktor Zubkov announced. It's an open secret that a recent report by the French parliamentary commission accuses certain "Russian Mafia structures purchasing expensive real estate in Nice and Cannes" in laundering money in Cote d'Azur, France. According to Viktor Zubkov, neither the French Financial Intelligence nor the country's Ministries of Finance and Industry "could name specific persons or sums invested in this money laundering business." The visit by the Russian Financial Monitoring Committee Chairman to France ends on April 18th

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