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No Safe Havens for Dirty Money

PARIS – In difficult economic times like these, one principle should be given the same prominence as the headline-grabbing issues of high deficits and austerity packages. That principle can be captured in just a few words: “Everyone must play by the rules.”

The global financial crisis has served to show that there is little tolerance nowadays for people who cheat. And, since the onset of the crisis, the G-20 countries – with France (and the United States) as driving forces – have been pressing for better regulation, governance, and accountability. No safe havens for tax evasion. No safe havens for money laundering and terrorism financing, and no safe havens for “cozy financial regulation.”

These principles are clearly what people in the developed world want to see enforced. In tough times such as these, money matters.

For the developing world, however, there is another dimension to the phrase “play by the rules.” People there want to see an end to the safe havens that allow corrupt officials to steal public money and stash it abroad. So we would add: no safe havens for proceeds from corruption.