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Fur Exports (Illegal Transactions)

Volume 496: debated on Tuesday 26 February 1952

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asked the Economic Secretary to the Treasury for how long the export of furs and fur-skins has been used as a cover for illegal currency transactions; what is the estimated loss in dollars to date; whether the perpetrators are to be prosecuted; and what steps he is taking to ensure that there are no other commodities being used as cover for similar transactions, and that exchange control on the whole operates without heavy losses.

These operations have probably been going on for some time, but recently they have been on a more serious scale. It is not possible, however, to estimate the loss of dollars involved. Vigorous counter-measures have been taken, and the offenders will certainly be prosecuted where possible. The Government are aware that both the commodities mentioned and others are being used in this way and they will do everything in their power to prevent this traffic, which is doing damage to the national economy.The Government are, at the same time, anxious to avoid imposing such additional measures of scrutiny and control as would disturb the legitimate trade of those who are innocent of such action or interfere with the international use of sterling, and they count, therefore, on the fullest possible co-operation from British traders.