The financial monitoring committee being set up under the finance ministry will start fully working from February 1, 2002, reported Russian vice premier, finance minister Alexei Kudrin. According to him, by that time all legislative acts regulating the new body's activity will be prepared. The committee's central staff will total over 300 persons, another 100 being employed in the committee's regional branches. It is expected that 7 regional bodies of the committee, taking into account the number of federal districts, will be set up. Kudrin stressed the committee's staffers would work strictly within the framework of authorities granted by the law on fighting money laundering. The vice premier also said Russia had joined the international communique on fighting money laundering. According to that document, Russia will be able to exchange with other countries information that might deal even with a bank secret on international requests. The new committee will have the right to use this information but will not be allowed to share it with other structures, except on international requests. The information the committee will have at its disposal can also be passed on to investigation bodies in case it contains indications of a crime committed by certain persons.
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