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Stolen Assets of Developing Countries Must Be Returned: Imran Khan Tells UN Panel

File photo of Pakistan PM Imran Khan.

File photo of Pakistan PM Imran Khan.

The prime minister said the authorities in tax haven destinations must impose strict penalties on those financial institutions which receive or utilise illicit money and assets.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday urged the international community to take "decisive actions" to counter illicit flows of money and said that the "stolen assets" of developing countries must be returned immediately. Khan was addressing a high-level panel on Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI) on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly session.

The event was convened to "present the interim report of the FACTI panel, which identifies the major gaps in the implementation and the systemic shortcomings of the existing international frameworks for tax cooperation, anti-corruption (and) anti-money laundering", the Prime Minister's Office tweeted. During his address, Khan said, "This bleeding of the poorer and developing countries must stop. International community must adopt decisive actions...(and) the stolen assets of developing countries, including the proceeds of corruption, bribery and other crimes must be returned immediately. Every year billions of dollars are lost due to tax evasion by multinational companies. Trillions of dollar black money is stored in tax havens, Khan said. The prime minister said the authorities in tax haven destinations must impose strict penalties on those financial institutions which receive or utilise illicit money and assets.

The premier also said that multinational companies must not be allowed to resort to profit shifting for relocating their operations to low tax jurisdictions in a bid to evade taxes. A global minimum corporate tax could prevent this practice. Khan told the UN penal that the need of developing countries to protect their precious assets has become more vital because of the recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Unless these steps are taken the difference between rich and poor countries will keep growing. The developing countries will get impoverished," he said. Addressing another event on poverty, Khan said around one billion people almost 15 per cent of the world's population live in poverty. He said though over the past 30 years, poverty had visibly declined, but the COVID-19 pandemic triggered the worst global recession in over a century and 100 million people were likely to be pushed back into extreme poverty.

He also called for equal distribution of wealth around the world.


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