Saturday, February 23, 2008

Organized Crime: Liechtenstein urged to ratify the UN Convention against Corruption

The head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has called on Liechtenstein to take further steps to enhance its integrity as a financial centre after the tiny European principality recently ratified a global pact against international organized crime and human trafficking.

Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of UNODC, issued a statement yesterday in Vienna describing Liechtenstein’s ratification of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crimes – which contains protocols against human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants – as a critical step in the global fight against transnational threats.

“This will further strengthen Liechtenstein’s efforts to combat money-laundering and enhance its integrity as an important financial centre,” he said. “It also opens the way for better mutual legal assistance, and eliminates banking secrecy as an impediment to prosecuting financial crimes.”

But Mr. Costa added that “tax havens should not be used to shelter the proceeds of crime” and he urged Liechtenstein to also ratify the UN Convention against Corruption.

“This would be a clear signal of Liechtenstein’s commitment to fighting corruption and improving international efforts to recover stolen assets. We need all countries, large and small, to prevent dirty money from finding a safe haven.”