The United States was chosen last week to lead the international Financial Action Task Force -- or FATF -- on money laundering, beginning in July.

Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen named Ronald K. Noble, assistant Treasury secretary for enforcement, to be president of the task force.

"The best way to hit criminals where it hurts is to hit them in the wallet," Mr. Bentsen said in a statement, "and an extensive program of international cooperation, especially through this task force, can do just that. This organization is the most effective voice on this issue. I'm pleased that the United States has been chosen to lead the group next year."

Created at the 1989 economic summit of the Group of Seven industrial nations, the FATF comprises 26 countries with major financial centers, the European Union, and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Mr. Noble will succeed Leo Verwoerd of the Netherlands Ministry of Finance.

It was also decided recently in Paris that the task force would continue work through 1999.

In the past five years, the organization has issued 40 recommendations to law enforcement and financial institutions for fighting domestic and international money laundering.

Some of the recommendations included criminalizing money laundering and requiring financial institutions to report suspect activity.

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