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Central bank lists 662 in crackdown
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The central bank Monday said 662 banking institutions, including 10 foreign banks, have been punished after they were found to have violated money laundering rules.

The list was compiled after spot-checks on 3,378 institutions last year, the People's Bank of China stated in a report on its website.

The checks included 24 foreign banks.

Violators were fined a total of 40.52 million yuan (US$5.43 million), with the number of institutions punished rising by 10 percent year-on-year.

Last year, the central bank's monitoring center received dubious currency deals that totaled 1.54 million yuan from close to 300 of the banking institutions required to do so, more than five times the previous year.

The central bank continues to play an active role in helping police net money launderers, the report stated.

Last year, the bank and local institutions provided 1,239 clues to the police involving more than 387 million yuan.

More than 100 cases involving 40 billion yuan were solved with its help, the report stated.

Together with foreign exchange regulators and the police, the central bank also helped expose more than 70 underground banks involving $3 billion last year.

The central bank added in the report that the country's anti-money laundering system has improved but still faces many challenges.

To that effect, it will experiment with new ways to push its anti-money laundering drive. These include streamlining reporting procedures, appraising the anti-money laundering work of local agencies and establishing a risk index.

There are also plans to extend the anti-money laundering drive beyond the financial sector.

The country's anti-money laundering law took effect on January 1.

Rules are also in place to control the financing of terrorism by requiring banks to report suspicious transactions to financial authorities.

In late June, the country joined the financial action task force, an intergovernmental body made up of 33 members to coordinate efforts to fight money laundering.

(China Daily November 6, 2007)

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