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Group to reveal laundering, terror funding blacklist

By Stanley Carvalho

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - An international body fighting money laundering and terrorist financing will publish a blacklist this week of countries which are failing to crack down on financial crime, officials said on Wednesday.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), comprising governments and regional organizations, will name the nations at the end of a meeting in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, said a senior official of the United Arab Emirates central bank.

Publication of the blacklist follows promises by the Group of 20 major economies last year to crack down on the problem, calling on the FATF to identify "uncooperative jurisdictions".

Global Witness, an international NGO, said those named in the FATF review may face political and economic pressure to strengthen their laws.

"Holes in the global anti-money laundering system continue to allow corrupt politicians, as well as terrorists, nuclear proliferators and organized criminals, access to the funds that they need," said Anthea Lawson, a campaigner for Global Witness in an e-mailed statement.

The FATF originally published a list of non-cooperative countries 10 years ago but they were gradually removed until none was left in 2006.

The Abu Dhabi meeting, which also included the body's regional wing, the Middle East North Africa FATF, will also discuss measures against laundering the proceeds of corruption, answering another G20 demand.

"The threats that we face are not erased and despite our efforts already undertaken, much remains to be done, globally and in this region," FATF president Paul Vlaanderen told the meeting in the UAE capital

"No country is free of money laundering and terrorist financing and these are issues that can only be addressed through enduring close cooperation and collaboration on a world scale," he told delegates from 53 nations and 33 organizations.

Global Witness has accused banks of dealing with corrupt regimes. "Banks are still helping politicians from some of the poorest countries in the world squander money on lavish lifestyles, while their people continue to live in poverty," said Lawson.

(Editing by Jason Benham/David Stamp)