Money laundering: Monaco in the hot seat
The Principality escapes the GAFI (Group of International Financial Action) black list but is severely harmed by the French government. French pressure may be reinforced.
Monaco is really in the hot seat. The Principality just succeeded in escaping from the GAFI dark list on June 22nd. But the day before, had been harmed by the report of the parliamentary investigation. While, at the end of May, it had also been harmed by the financial stability Forum which had classified world tax heavens into three categories according to the cooperating level.France is accused of being too laxThe report established by Vincent Peillon (PS Somme), president of the investigation, and the rapporteur Arnaud Montebourg (PS Saône-et-Loire) gave a very negative review of what is made on the Rock presented as a 'prosper site for laundering'.It is too soon to know the consequences the report could imply on the Monegasque market place. But France may reinforce the pressure. All the more France is directly concerned and accused of being too lax. The members of Parliament put a stress on 'its implication in the working of Monaco decision structures' and talk about the risk of being discredited for the 'French political will to fight laundering of illegal money in Europe and in the world '. Laurent Fabius, Treasury Minister demanded a report this morning. It will be the first task for Jean-Pierre Jouyet, the public revenue department new director.350 billion francs managedMonaco has just avoided the same situation as Liechtenstein, Israel, Lebanon, Russia, which were inscribed on a black list having 15 countries accused of being extremely lax with recycling of crime money. Monaco with 14 other countries is however in the hot seat. For Monaco it is about important stakes. During the last five years, the Monacan market place increased in popularity (more than 20% of the 45 billion franc turnover of Monaco are made by the financial activity). In the 70 banks based in Monaco, about 350 billion francs are managed among which there are a bit more than 100 billion of deposit (an more important amount than the Alpes-Maritimes one), and 250 billion of securities keeping. On the other hand, there is a 17 billion franc credit amount, since Monaco is used as a place for property keeping.To keep its credibility, the Principality which has already reinforced its measures of control, will have to answer the critics: weakness of the teams in charge of tracking money of organized crime and bad cooperation in information exchange. But what is sure is that 2000 will be a turning point in Monaco banks history.