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Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that while it is true that illicit financial flows adversely affect wealthy countries, such movement of ill-gotten money is "devastating the developing countries" across the world.

The premier was addressing an event called 'High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development' at the United Nations in New York, on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.

"I do not think people fully realise the impact it (illicit financial flows) is having on poverty, deaths, destruction and human development in developing countries," said Prime Minister Imran, who was welcomed to the dialogue with a huge round of applause from the audience.

He said in the last decade Pakistan had a corrupt leadership which accumulated more debt for the country in the last 10 years than in the previous 60 years.

"We are trying our best to retrieve our money," the premier said, conceding that even when his government has located properties owned by Pakistanis abroad in the past, a number of legal lacunas and loopholes have made it difficult to take such corrupt elements to task.

He called upon developed countries to do better as far as the return of illicit wealth is concerned, saying "There is a lack of will in the rich countries because they gain from it."

Addressing the same event earlier, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stressed upon cooperation between countries to curb corruption and the flow of illegal funds.

"Collaboration is crucial in cracking down on tax avoidance, tax evasion, corruption and illicit financial flows that deprive developing countries of tens of billions of dollars of potential resources for their development every year," he said.

"Cooperation will also be necessary in addressing the new challenge of taxing the digital economy." The discussion also saw other leaders and experts stressing on the importance of clamping down on illicit financial flows.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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