Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

Das Absterben des anonymen Kommerzes im Realen Leben

[Was reden wir ueber Anonymitaet oder Pseudonymitaet im e-Commerce, wenn im Realen Leben (TM) ohnehin alles wegen der Gefahr der "Geldwaesche" reguliert wird? --AHH]

16 February 1999 Source:

USIS Washington File _________________________________

12 February 1999


(Calls for account holders to be identified) (600)

Paris -- The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body set up in 1989 to combat money laundering, expressed "deep concern" over Austria's failure to eliminate its system of anonymous passbook savings accounts. It said these accounts "breach the principles" of FATF recommendations designed to combat money laundering worldwide.

In a news release February 11, the FATF said it called on Austria two years ago to take remedial action on anonymous passbook savings accounts, but that Austrian law still does not require residents to identify themselves when opening these accounts. The FATF called on its members to persuade the Austrian government to require that holders of such accounts be identified.

The FATF has 26 member countries and governments, and is based at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. Members have pledged to fight transnational organized crime, fraud, and money laundering. Current issues include: potential new money laundering opportunities following the introduction of the euro, misuse of the Internet for transmission of illicit funds, and the increasing significance of offshore financial centers to launder proceeds from illegal activities.

Following is the text of the OECD February 11 release:

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Paris, 11 February, 1999


The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the inter-governmental body set up in 1989 to combat money laundering, today expressed its deep concern regarding Austria's failure to take action to eliminate the anonymous savings "passbook" accounts which are available in Austria. The anonymous passbook accounts breach the principles laid out in the FATF 40 Recommendations -- the internationally recognised framework to combat money laundering.

When Austria joined the FATF more than nine years ago, it committed itself to implementing the Recommendations. Despite this, and notwithstanding calls from the FATF two years ago for remedial action, Austrian law still does not require Austrian residents to identify themselves when opening an anonymous passbook account or when conducting large transactions through such an account. At present any person or legal entity resident in Austria can hold an anonymous passbook savings account. There are 25 million such accounts for a population of just over 8 million people.

The FATF is therefore calling on its member governments to persuade the Government of Austria to put an end to anonymous passbook savings accounts by requiring the holders of all such accounts, and persons making large transactions through them, to be identified.

The FATF has also agreed to call on financial institutions to give special attention, as contemplated in Recommendation 21, to transactions with bank cheques issued by Austrian banks and denominated in Austrian schillings, as these funds might be the result of the closing of anonymous passbook savings accounts. The FATF will continue to monitor the situation with regard to anonymous passbook savings accounts.

The 26 member countries and governments of the FATF, whose Secretariat is based at the OECD, are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, China, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States. Two international organisations are also members of the FATF: the European Commission and the Gulf Co-operation Council.

For further information, please contact OECD Media Relations Division or the FATF Secretariat, 37 bis Boulevard Suchet, 75016 Paris (telephone: 331 45 24 79 45 - fax: 331 45 24 17 60).

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