* Hopes for agreements boosting emerging market clout at IMF
* Praises G8 host Cameron for tackling tax haven troubles
* Russia holds G20 presidency, takes G8 helm next year
By Steve Gutterman
MOSCOW, June 14 The International Monetary Fund
needs "thorough reform" and Russia will push for deals giving
developing countries more clout in time for a G20 summit it is
hosting in September, President Vladimir Putin said in remarks
published on Friday.
In an interview with Russian state news agency RIA before
next week's G8 summit in Northern Ireland, Putin emphasised
Russia's role as current G20 president and next year's leader of
the Group of Eight industrialised nations.
He mixed criticism and praise, getting in digs at the West
but casting Russia as a constructive partner eager to help.
The IMF often responds too slowly to changes in financial
markets and the implementation of its decisions "leaves much to
be desired as well," Putin said. "A good example is the global
financial crisis, which the IMF system failed to prevent."
Talks on revising the IMF quota and voting systems to
enhance the role of the BRICS countries and other developing
nations "are not going smoothly. I would say that they have
actually come to a standstill since 2010," he said.
IMF member countries have wrangled for more than two years
over specifics of a formula to determine member countries'
voting power that would give emerging economies greater say in
the global financial institution.
"We will make maximum efforts to persuade our partners to
reach a compromise and find mutually acceptable solutions in the
run-up to the G20 summit in St Petersburg," said Putin, who will
host the meeting in his hometown.
He said that when Russia takes the helm of the G8 next year
and holds the summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where the
2014 Winter Olympics will take place next February, it will
focus on "searching for responses to new security threats."
He had praise for next week's summit host, British Prime
Minister David Cameron, whose country is using its G8 presidency
to push for a global clampdown on complex arrangements used to
disguise wealth and minimise tax payments.
Putin, who pledged a "de-offshorisation" push to stem
capital flight after returning to the Kremlin last year for a
third presidential term, stressed that the problem is not
"We have all seen how not long ago the head of Apple
answered the awkward questions of senators about the
fact that his company keeps tens of billions of dollars ...
outside American tax boundaries," Putin said.
He said Russia advocates bilateral agreements with offshore
jurisdictions aimed at curbing illegal tax-minimisation schemes.
Putin, who often contrasts Russia favourably with the West,
said that some European countries were living beyond their means
and many were seeing "a rise of dependency mentality, when not
working is often much more beneficial than working."
"For Russia, such an approach is unacceptable," he said -
but he added that leading European nations were carrying out
structural reforms and said "we should not reject the European
Putin said that there was a "certain stagnation right now
within the World Trade Organization," which Russia joined last
year after nearly two decades trying. "However, this is no
reason to tear this structure down."
He said Russia is accused of falling short of fulfilling its
WTO commitments but has its own complaints, saying it is
unreasonably denied access to some markets in fertilizers,
chemicals, automotive fuel and pipes, among other goods.
Putin, who skipped the G8 summit hosted by U.S. President
Barack Obama last year and will meet Obama for the first time
since last June, made only brief mention of global political and
security issues in the interview.
G8 leaders "plan to talk about the situation in Syria, the
Middle East and North Africa, Afghanistan and so on. We expect
that the results of this discussion will be useful" he said.