JERUSALEM, April 8 (JTA) — The Justice Ministry is pushing for tougher punishments for money laundering in Israel. The ministry called this week for new legislation, saying that no other effective means was available to combat the problem. Officials are concerned that the problem could become more widespread in Israel as the peace process, new drug routes and increased organized crime activities create additional “avenues” for laundering money. The ministry wants legislation that would require banks to report any suspicious business deals and that would slap a 10-year prison sentence on those convicted of the crime. In a related development, Israeli police officials announced last week that their international crime-fighting division would increase fivefold to combat Russian organized crime in the Jewish state.
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