9 Oct 2006

US warning about providing aid to Vanautu

7:55 pm on 9 October 2006

The US has been warned against giving aid money to Vanuatu if it refuses to return the proceeds of crime.

Vanuatu's Daily Post newspaper reports that the warning came in testimony given to the US House of Representatives Committee on International Relations.

The testimony came from Robb Evans, whose company is involved in recovering stolen money from the proceeds of crime on behalf of the US Department of Justice.

Mr Evans referred to Vanuatu's chances of accessing any further US Millennium Challenge Funding after the current US$65.69 million fund is finished.

He questioned how a government that repeatedly thumbs its nose at American courts and regulators and refuses to discuss returning money undisputedly stolen from American citizens, could also be a priority for such aid.

He suggests that before such grants are given, countries with offshore financial centres, or tax havens, should have their level of cooperation in the war against money laundering and international crime reviewed.