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India joins global task force against financial fraud

India has gained membership to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global body that chalks policies to counter financial frauds and provides members access to information on suspicious transactions across various countries, including Switzerland, US and UK.

india Updated: Jun 29, 2010 23:34 IST

India has gained membership to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global body that chalks policies to counter financial frauds and provides members access to information on suspicious transactions across various countries, including Switzerland, US and UK.

The decision to include India as the 34th member country was taken during a FATF plenary session in Amsterdam from June 23 to 25, and marks the end of India's nearly decade-long wait for admission into the force.

"FATF Plenary adopted the Mutual Evaluation Report on India on June 24, 2010, and, on June 25, 2010, admitted India as the 34th Country Member of FATF," a Finance Ministry statement said.

Earlier, in 2006, India had become an observer at FATF.

Since then, India had been working towards gaining full-fledged membership in the force.

"FATF membership is very important for India in its quest to become a major player in international finance. It will help India build capacity to fight terrorism, trace terrorist money and successfully investigate ... money laundering and terrorist-financing offences," the statement said.

Now, the Union Government as well as financial enforcement and intelligence agencies in the country, such as Financial Intelligence Unit, Enforcement Directorate, Central Economic Intelligence Bureau and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, would be able to exchange financial information with member countries, a Finance Ministry official said.

Other agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Intelligence Bureau would also be able to route their requests for information through proper channels, he added.

Currently, Switzerland, United States of America, China and the United Kingdom are members of the FATF.

The membership would also put increased responsibility on Indian financial institutions and banks to comply with better business practices, and strict adherence to reporting of financial transactions -- including suspicious ones.