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Calls for Greater Financial Integrity

AC day_2008On the occasion of the World Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December, Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the  UNODC, Franz-Hermann Brüner, Director General of OLAF, and Martin Kreutner, Chair of EPAC and Director of the Austrian Federal Bureau for Internal Affairs (BIA), were invited to a joint press conference in the EU Press Information Centre in Brussels.

At this event, Antonio Maria Costa called for full implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The Convention, which came into force in December 2005, includes detailed measures to prevent and fight corruption applicable to both the private and public sectors. There are 128 Parties."To restore confidence in the international financial system, governments and banks need to play by the rules. The rule book is called the United Nations Convention against Corruption”, said Mr. Costa.

"The world’s anti-corruption treaty should be the basis for strengthening integrity and oversight and curbing economic crime”, said the Executive Director of UNODC."Not only is corruption destroying jobs, productivity and markets in the developed world, it is stealing development assistance from the world’s poorest people in developing countries, making it harder to achieve the Millennium Development Goals”, said Mr. Costa. "If more governments and businesses implemented the Convention, we wouldn’t be in such a mess”, he said.

Franz-Hermann Brüner underlined the growing operational collaboration between OLAF and the UN. "It is a privilege for OLAF to contribute to UNODC's international campaign against corruption because raising public awareness of this problem is a key to bringing about its prevention. Martin Kreutner highlighted international cooperation as "a key component in the fight against corruption since corruption hits us all”. He stressed the need for partnership, "not only for the investigational side of the phenomenon but also for the preventive and educational spheres.”

In addition to trying to prevent corruption, the UN is helping states recover money that has been stolen. One year ago, the World Bank and UNODC launched the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) to help developing countries recover stolen assets and the developed world – particularly financial centres – to eliminate barriers to returning these assets. "The barriers to asset recovery are coming down: the days of banking secrecy are over”, said Mr. Costa. In order to train a new generation of corruption busters, all three experts welcomed the establishment of the International Anti-Corruption Academy, which will open in Laxenburg, Austria, in 2009.

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