Transparency International has called on Nigeria and other governments across the world to, along with their security agencies, combine forces to put an end to money laundering.

In a statement?on Thursday?by?its spokeswoman, Deborah Unger, the anti-corruption agency urged the governments to assign the highest priority to prosecuting individuals and banks when clear evidence existed of their involvement in illegal international financial transactions.

TI noted that about 100,000 individuals and corporations held accounts at the Swiss branch of Europe?s largest bank, HSBC, and that investigations found many to allegedly conceal funds for tax evasion and others to harbour the alleged proceeds of corruption.

According to the statement, UBS, one of the two largest banks in Switzerland, confirmed?on Tuesday?that it was being investigated by the US authorities to determine whether it helped Americans evade taxes or otherwise.

?Evidence of money laundering abounds, but for the greatest part, investigations have only resulted in corporate fines with almost no criminal prosecutions of individuals. Actions by national judicial authorities to end this criminal behaviour are largely absent.

?This lack of senior management accountability sends a signal to the corrupt individuals and corporations laundering cash, and to their banks, lawyers and other agents who assist them in their crimes, that in this area there is impunity. This is wrong,? the Chairman of the Board of Directors of TI, Jos? Ugaz, said.

The organisation also called on judicial authorities around the world to enforce anti-money laundering regulations and pursue and prosecute those who flout the rules.

?Banks need to oversee their employees and enforce higher ethical standards, which have to be reflected in the tone from the top, the performance management system and remuneration.

?Governments should introduce public registers of beneficial ownership information of companies to facilitate anti-money laundering due diligence by banks as well as anti-money laundering investigations,? the statement said in part.

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