‘Fighting corruption top priority’

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US envoy lauds Kuwait stance

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 16: American Ambassador to Kuwait Alina Romanowski said money laundering and corruption are anathema to economic growth, foreign investment and trust in public institutions; indicating they are just as problematic to international financial markets as they are to emerging economies, reports Al-Qabas daily. Speaking to the daily, Romanowski pointed out the United Nations estimates that the amount of money laundered globally in one year is around two to five percent of global GDP, equivalent to a staggering $800 billion to $2 trillion.

American Ambassador to Kuwait Alina Romanowski

Terrorists also further their causes by exploiting money laundering networks, which underscore the seriousness of this problem, she revealed. She went on to say that “money laundering also facilitates corruption, allowing illegal actors to hide stolen public funds”. She confirmed the United States has formally established the fight against corruption as one of its core national security interests.

In June, President Joe Biden released the White House’s first National Security Memorandum on the Fight Against Corruption, which elaborates the President’s commitment to prioritize anti-corruption efforts and bring greater transparency to American and international financial systems, she noted. She affirmed that the United States lauds Kuwait’s commitment to tackle corruption and money laundering. As a close friend of Kuwait, the United States remains ready to coordinate and aid in any way possible, including providing technical legal assistance, she added.

She stated that hundreds of Kuwaiti professionals from various government entities have already taken part in the US Embassy’s anti-money laundering workshops, led by the US Department of Justice, including most recently in June 2021. About her first meeting with Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Justice and State Minister for Enhancing Nazaha Abdullah Al-Roumi; she disclosed: “We discussed the importance of fighting corruption and money laundering together and the need to address new threats as they arise”. “I was pleased to offer ongoing support to Kuwait’s investigators and regulators to assist with strengthening its antimoney laundering regime, particularly as Kuwait prepares for a mutual evaluation with the Financial Action Task Force, scheduled for early next year. I look forward to our continued collaboration,” she affirmed. She disclosed that both the United States and Kuwait are parties to international agreements seeking to address these issues, such as the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. “We continue to explore additional bilateral agreements to further strengthen our tools and our cooperation,“ she concluded.

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