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India, Nepal hold first-ever bilateral meeting on money laundering

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NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi, May 8 (PTI) India and Nepal on Wednesday concluded their first-ever bilateral meeting between their probe agencies tasked to combat money laundering and discussed ways to check the crime taking place through the porous border between the two neighbours.

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A visiting delegation of Nepal's department of money laundering investigation (DMLI), led by its Director General Pushpa Raj Shahi, attended the two-day meet with the officials from the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

"This was the first head of the agency level meeting between the two anti-money laundering agencies of India and Nepal. The meeting was aimed at developing mutual cooperation and strengthening capacity building in the areas of money laundering and asset recovery between India and Nepal," an official statement issued by the ED said.

The Indian side was led by ED Director (in-charge) Rahul Navin and both the sides had officials from their respective embassies in Delhi and Kathmandu apart from the Indian external affairs ministry.

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During the meeting, both sides presented an overview of their respective anti-money laundering legislations and exchanged ideas for combating the menace of money laundering, it said.

Both the sides also presented case studies and discussed common modus of money laundering schemes, as per the statement.

The ED, it said, explained in detail about various tools of investigation, analytical software and forensic tools/equipment used during the money laundering investigations.

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"Emphasis was placed upon on the fact that money laundering is a global problem that not only threatens security, but also compromises the stability, transparency and efficiency of financial systems, thus undermining economic prosperity.

"Therefore, both the sides expressed their concern towards money laundering risks through the porous border between India and Nepal," the statement said.

The two agencies also "agreed" to continue strengthening cooperation in anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism efforts, through increased information sharing and coordination, including expeditious sharing of evidence and information for money laundering and terrorism financing investigations, as and when necessary, it said.

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The importance of fighting financial crimes and on the effective implementation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards to protect abuse of financial systems was agreed upon, as per the ED.

The Nepalese delegation "requested assistance" to set up forensic labs like the one ED has, and to arrange capacity building and training for DMLI officers.

ED expressed its "willingness" on this request and to strengthen agency-to-agency cooperation through informal channels in the areas of money laundering and asset recovery.

"As a step closer, a draft MoU between ED and DMLI for enhancing mutual cooperation in the investigation of money laundering offences was discussed and the same would be signed in due course after obtaining the necessary approvals from their respective competent authorities," the statement said. PTI NES KVK KVK

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