ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday called upon the international community to take steps to counter illicit flows of money, saying the “stolen assets” of developing countries must be returned.
Addressing a high-level panel on Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI) on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly session, the premier said the global community must take “decisive actions” to stop “this bleeding of the poor and developing countries”.
The event was convened to “present the interim report of the FACTI panel, which identifies the major gaps in the implementation and the systemic shortcomings of the existing international frameworks for tax cooperation, anti-corruption [and] anti-money laundering”, the Prime Minister’s Office said on Twitter.
Prime Minister Imran said Pakistan appreciated the initiative by Nigeria and Norway to establish the panel on international financial accountability.
Noting that billions of dollars illicitly flow out of developing countries each year, he said his government had come “with a robust public mandate to get rid of this menace from our country”.
He said although the PTI government had taken several initiatives domestically, “what is required is strengthening international cooperation to bring perpetrators of financial crimes to justice”.
The premier said the figures of illicit flows mentioned in the report released by the FACTI panel were “staggering”.
“$1 trillion is taken out each year by these white-collar criminals,” he noted. “$20-40 billion is in the form of bribes received by these corrupt white-collar criminals; $7 trillion in stolen assets is parked in these safe tax haven destinations; $500-600 billion is lost each year in tax avoidance by mutinational companies.”
The premier proposed the following measures that the world must take to curb illicit financial flows:
The stolen assets of developing countries, including proceeds of corruption, bribery and other crimes, must be returned immediately
The stories in haven destinations must impose criminal and financial penalties on their financial institutions which receive and utilise such money and assets
The enablers of corruption and bribery such as accountants, lawyers and other intermediaries must be closely regulated, monitored and held accountable
The beneficial ownership of foreign companies must be revealed immediately upon inquiry by the interested and affected governments.