Steps to combat financial crime were agreed by EU ministers at a special summit meeting in Tampere in Finland a fortnight ago. But a European Commission official has admitted that aspects of the draft proposal are unclear. The official said the proposal will become clearer over the coming months and that further work will be undertaken to 'add flesh to the bones.'He added: 'The proposal is still in the basic skeleton form and something that we need to give more flesh to. There are clearly terminological problems of defining the profession.'The intention is to include external accountants who do not work as employees of a company and one function would be auditing.'There will be a need for further discussion with the member states as talks continue, but we are always open to input. So far we have only held one such meeting with the member states, but there will be a few more starting on 5 November.'The summit also saw ministers agree steps towards stripping away banking secrecy in offshore financial centres, including dependent territories of European Union member states, such as the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.Although the resulting agreement falls short of some expectations - there is for instance no publication of a 'white list' of countries considered free from financial malpractices - the package could amount to a weighty new arsenal in the fight against money laundering and other financial crimes.
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