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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan, has urged the international community that stolen assets of developing countries including proceeds of corruption, bribery and other crimes must be returned immediately.

Addressing a high-level panel of the UN on Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI) through video link on Thursday, the prime minister said that his government came to power with the robust mandate to get rid of the menace of corruption.

He added that several initiatives had been taken by the present government but what was required was strengthened international cooperation to bring perpetrators of financial crimes to justice.

He said, "We welcome the interim report and the figure of illicit flows mentioned in the report are staggering as one trillion dollars taken each year by these white collar criminals."

The prime minister said that 20 to 40 billion dollars was in the form of bribe was received by those corrupt white collar criminals. He said that seven trillion dollars in stolen assets was parked in the safe tax havens.

The prime minister said that 500 to 600 billion dollars were lost each year in tax avoidance by multinational companies, and this bleeding of poor and developing countries must stop.

He called upon the international community to adopt decisive actions and proposed nine points, which included; (i) stolen assets of developing countries including proceeds of corruption, bribery and other crimes must be returned immediately; (ii) the authorities in heaven destinations must impose criminal and financial penalties on their financial institutions which receive and utilize such money and assets;(iii) the enablers of corruption and bribery such as accountants, lawyers and other intermediaries must be closely regulates and held accountable;(iv) the beneficial ownership of foreign companies must be revealed immediately upon inquiry by the interested affected governments;(v) multinational corporations must not be allowed to resort to profit shifting to low tax jurisdictions for avoiding taxation and a global minimum corporate tax could prevent this practice; (vi) revenue from digital transactions should be taxed where the revenue are generated or elsewhere'(vii) unequal investment treaties should be discarded or revised in a fair system(viii) all official and non official bodies set up to control and monitor illicit flows must include all the interested countries, and (ix) UN should set up a mechanism to coordinate and supervise the work of various officials and non official bodies dealing with illicit financial flows to ensure coherence, consistency and equity in their work.

The prime minister said that the need of developing countries to protect and preserve their precious resources had become even more vital because of the recession triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The prime minister said that unless those steps were taken, the difference between the rich and the poor countries would keep growing and the developing countries would get impoverished.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020