Right of Reply: By Sandro Tucci

The spokesman for the UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention replies to criticism by Hugh O'Shaughnessy
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IN THE fight against money-laundering, the United Nations is not crusading against small states but against criminals abusing small states. It has not embarked on a "war" against offshore jurisdictions, but against criminal organisations exploiting the weaknesses of offshore markets to launder criminal money.

Our endeavour is a co-operative effort instigated by and involving the offshore financial services community. This initiative grew out of a realisation by a number of the more highly developed and successful offshore centres that even the merest hint of money-laundering in their markets would drive out legitimate business.

Working with a group of committed offshore financial services centres, we will assist them to develop an infrastructure that will deny criminals unfettered access to this important segment of the global financial market.

The UN Global Programme against Money Laundering will continue to provide states, particularly the most vulnerable, with the means to protect their economies against infiltration by dirty money.

Virtually every one of the states or territories to which Mr O'Shaughnessy refers are members of organisations dedicated to removing criminal money from their financial systems. He should read their charters, review the speeches of their members and take note of the work they have accomplished in recent years.

The UN aims to complement and support this work, and to help realise its goals, the goals of member states worldwide. It is in no one's interest to have criminal money polluting the world's financial system. The UN and its member states realise this - and they are doing something about it.