A major UN meeting of law officials has called for a strong international action to track down and recover black money hidden in safe havens.
The 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which ended on Sunday in Doha, Qatar, declared that effective steps should be taken to trace, recover and freeze “money and other assets that have not been accounted for and are found in safe havens” so they can be confiscated and transparently disposed of.
The confiscation, it said, can be carried out “in accordance with domestic law” and can also be “non-conviction-based.”
These were among the proposals adopted by the week-long congress in a document called The Doha Declaration.
The meeting was attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, union Law Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda and the top legal and law enforcement officials from around the world.
The Declaration said strategies should be developed to combat “all illicit financial flows” and urgent steps should be taken “to fight against economic and financial crimes, including fraud, as well as tax and corporate crimes, especially in their relevant trans-national dimensions.”
It also called for strengthening international cooperation and finding for nations “ways of affording one another similar cooperation in civil and administrative proceedings for confiscation purposes.”
The international call for action comes as India grapples with the issue of black money kept abroad and the government facing criticism as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) promised quick action to recover them during the last year’s election campaign .
Key problems the government has encountered are laws and procedures in the safe havens, which have traditionally protected account-holder secrecy.
Gowda welcomed the actions proposed at the Congress on black money. Speaking during the proceedings, Gowda said: “I am happy to note that this Congress has endorsed the need for greater international cooperation to effectively deal with critical issues such as unaccounted black money stashed in safe havens, money laundering.”
The Doha Declaration also dealt with fighting terrorism, another issue of vital interest to India.
It said all nations should “ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in the supporting the terrorist acts is brought to justice.”