Industry officials have described calls by anti-corruption campaigner Global Witness to "name and shame" UK banks which have handled billions of pounds of corrupt money from North African dictators as unworkable.
The non-governmental organisation has called for counter-money laundering regulations globally to be tightened to prevent banks from accepting illicit funds. An estimated $40bn in worldwide assets connected to Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi, ex-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and former Tunisian head of state Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and their associates have been frozen since the North African and Middle East uprisings began earlier this year. The US authorities have frozen as much as $32bn while HM Treasury is estimated to have frozen as much as $3.2bn in dirty funds. Global Witness said that although governments globally had hailed the asset seizures as achievements they instead represented a "catastrophic failure" of money laundering rules.
One former regulator, who now
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