14 Jun 2003

Nauru revokes 139 offshore banking licenses

7:36 am on 14 June 2003

The new government of Nauru, which is the only nation facing full-blown financial sanctions for money laundering, says it has ended its offshore banking operations.

Nauru has no natural economy apart from phosphate mining, with reserves fast running out, and has relied on offshore banking to bolster revenues.

But international financial investigators say the banks have been used to launder money by groups such as the russian mafia.

After a meeting last week with the international Financial Action Task Force, Nauru says it has revoked 139 offshore banking licenses, keeping only one for its central bank.

Nauru says it hopes this will be sufficient to have it removed from the money laundering blacklist.