India to host Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering meeting

The meeting will provide a platform for high-level discussion and cooperation and will evaluate the progress made by APG members in implementing the international standards to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism

New Delhi: At a time when India is at the forefront of the global fight against black money, the country will play host to the 14th annual meeting of the Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering later this month, reports PTI.

The five-day event, scheduled from 18th to 22nd July at Kochi, Kerala, will be attended by Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who will make the opening address on 19th July, an official statement said.

The 10th annual technical assistance and training forum of the APG will also be held simultaneously.

"The meeting will provide a platform for high-level discussion and cooperation and will evaluate the progress made by APG members in implementing the international standards to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism," the statement said.

More than 300 senior government officials from the Asia-Pacific region and other parts of the world are expected to attend the event.

The APG co-chairs for the meeting are K Jose Cyriac, secretary to the government of India, and Tony Negus, the commissioner of the Australian Federal Police.

Among others who will be in Kochi for the APG meet is Giancarlo Del Bufalo of Italy, the president of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which sets international standards to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

The Kochi meet assumes significance at a time when India has taken a strong position in the fight against black money.

India took over as co-chair in the FATF in February this year.

Indian president Pratibha Patil Friday made a strong case for better domestic and cross-border measures to tackle the problem of black money.

"The war against black money has to be addressed both domestically and through cross-border measures," she said here, adding that efforts to enhance global cooperation need to continue.

"There has to be continued (cooperation) through an appropriate agreement on tax information exchange and on mutual cooperation between countries to track down evaders taking shelter in other jurisdictions," Ms Patil said, addressing the concluding ceremony of celebrations to mark 150 years of the Income Tax Department's existence.

The Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering is an international organisation with representation from around 40 countries. It is presently co-chaired by India and Australia.

Supported by multilateral bodies like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and FATF, it conducts research into money laundering and terrorist financing.

It also assesses the compliance of countries with international standards on anti-money laundering and assists in global policy development on such issues.

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Decision on seeking review of SC order in 2-3 days: Finance ministry

Both the finance and law ministries are discussing the 4th July order of the apex court appointing a SIT, which includes two former SC judges, to monitor steps to bring back unaccounted money stashed in tax havens

New Delhi: The finance ministry today said the government will take a decision on seeking review of the Supreme Court order constituting a Special Investigation Team (SIT), in the next two-three days, reports PTI.

Both the finance and law ministries are discussing the 4th July order of the apex court appointing a SIT, which includes two former SC judges, to monitor steps to bring back unaccounted money stashed in tax havens.

"We (finance ministry) are seeking their (law ministry) views...some decision is likely in 2-3 days," chairman of Central Board Direct Taxes (CBDT) Prakash Chandra told reporters here on sidelines of a function.

The government has not yet taken a final view on seeking review of the Supreme Court order, he said adding "the order is very broad and was being studied".

On 4th July, pulling up the government for the "laggardly pace" in investigations into the issue of black money stashed abroad, the apex court appointed a SIT headed by former Supreme Court judge BP Jeevan Reddy to monitor steps taken to bring the unaccounted money back home.

Another former apex court judge MB Shah will be vice chairman of the 13-member SIT into which the director of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) has also been inducted.

The court also directed that the high-level committee (HLC) constituted by the government to look into the issue of black money would 'forthwith' be part of the SIT.

Facing flak from civil right activists and Opposition on the issue of black money, the government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to deal with the menace.

This includes negotiation and re-negotiation of India's double taxation avoidance agreements with other countries.

On the time-frame for re-negotiation of India-Mauritius tax treaty, Mr Chandra said no date or agenda has been finalised yet.

The ministry of external affairs is in touch with the Mauritius government to finalise dates and venue for the negotiations.

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Share prices to move sideways: Friday Closing Report

Look for 5,520 on the Nifty

Yesterday we mentioned that the market move today would decide the direction, especially if the Nifty falls below 5,520. Today, after the initial volatility, the index fell below its Thursday close and was range-bound in subsequent trade. We expect the market to move sideways in the days to come until it reaches the 5,520 level.   

Global concerns about the US economy and worries that the European debt crisis could spread to other countries, together with domestic inflation pressures, kept the market in the red today.

The market opened in the positive following the Asian markets that were mostly higher in morning trade. The Nifty resumed trade three points higher at 5,603 and the Sensex added 76 points to open trade at 18,694. Realty and IT stocks were in demand in early trade. Gaining strength the market soon touched its intra-day high. At the day's high, the Nifty rose to 5,632 and the Sensex shot up to 19,620. But profit booking at higher levels led the indices into the red in subsequent trade.

The market fell to the day's low in the mid-morning session with the Nifty falling to 5,563 and the Sensex to 18,513. Trade continued to be range-bound thereafter with the indices making half-hearted attempts to venture into the green. But those attempts were marred by the key European markets opening in the red. Finally the Nifty closed 19 points lower at 5,582 and the Sensex settled 56 points down at 18,562.

Markets in Asia settled mixed after Standard & Poor's late Thursday placed its US sovereign ratings on CreditWatch with negative implications. The development follows Moody's move on Wednesday to put US debt on a possible downgrade. Fears of the Eurozone debt crisis spreading to Italy also figured in the minutes of a Bank of Japan policy meeting held in June.

The Shanghai Composite gained 0.33%, the Jakarta Composite climbed 0.64%, the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.39%, the Seoul Composite rose 0.71% and the Taiwan Weighted surged 1.10%. On the other hand, the Hang Seng fell 0.30%, the KLSE Composite declined 0.28% and the Straits Times slipped 0.14%.

Back home, institutional investors were net buyers in the equities segment on Thursday. While foreign institutional investors pumped in funds worth Rs211.46 crore, domestic institutional investors invested Rs517.82 crore.

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