Pakistani PM Imran Khan makes an appeal to the haven countries holding the foreign assets stolen from developing countries

Pakistani PM Imran Khan makes an appeal to the haven countries holding the foreign assets stolen from developing countries

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked the "haven" countries to immediately and unconditionally return all foreign assets that are shown to be stolen or whose "legitimacy" cannot be explained.

Addressing the virtual launch event of the Final Report of the High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for achieving the 2030 Development Agenda on Thursday, Imran Khan said the top world body should initiate various steps, including negotiations on the new international tax cooperation and anti- money laundering legal instruments.

The Pakistani premier called for the establishment of a UN Coordination, Adjudication and Mediation mechanism on illicit financial flows. He said Pakistan will work actively with all like-minded countries to realise these vital objectives.

He also endorsed Panel's proposals, which include application of international "values" of honesty and integrity to all financial transactions, strengthening policy frameworks and reforming relevant institutions dealing with these illicit financial flows.

Khan said national and cross-border financial transactions should be regulated under a "values-based" system, encompassing accountability, transparency, legitimacy, fairness, inclusion and equity. Global financial governance must improve and policies on illicit flows must be implemented in a coordinated and coherent way by national and international institutions and bodies, he added.

International bodies dealing with tax matters, corruption and illicit financing should not be used as instruments of pressure and coercion against developing countries.

Imran Khan said magnitude of the illicit financial flows is staggering can have a transformational impact on the development prospects of the developing countries if returned.

Recovery of stolen asset will enable the developing countries to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities, build back better after the COVID crisis, address climate change and strengthen human rights.

He also expressed satisfaction over incorporating his proposals in the Final Report of the Panel. These suggestions include immediate return of stolen assets, penalties on the financial institutions, lawyers and accountants, and other "enablers" of corruption, crime and tax evasion, disclosure of the "beneficial ownership" of companies, review and revision of unequal investment treaties and a coherent mechanism for monitoring illicit financial flows set up under the United Nations.