The United States has appreciated the legislation undertaken by Indian government to check money laundering cases, especially with regard to the religious charities receiving foreign money, and asked it to extend this regulation into fields like real estate and accountancy.

The Indian Government amended the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in order to strengthen its anti—money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, the Obama Administration in its report ‘International Narcotics Control Strategy Report Volume II Money Laundering and Financial Crimes’ said.

The 238-page report, released on Monday at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department, said India “should extend the PMLA to dealers in precious stones and metals; real estate agents; lawyers, notaries and other independent legal professionals; and accountants.”

Further tax reform, loosening of currency controls and facilitating the development of money transfer services should enhance the availability of legal alternatives to hawala and reduce money laundering/terrorist financing (ML/TF) vulnerabilities.

“Given the fact that in India hawala is directly linked to terrorist financing, the GOI (Government of India) should take action to provide increased transparency in alternative remittance systems,” it said.

According to Indian observers, funds transferred through the hawala market are equal to between 30 to 40 per cent of the formal market, totalling between $ 13 and 17 billion.

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