WASHINGTON - The International Monetary Fund(IMF) said Wednesday it will launch a donor-supported trust fund to finance technical assistance in the global fight against money laundering and terrorism financing. The fund will start operations on May 1 this year, and provide about 31 million U.S. dollars over five years to help strengthen efforts to combat the crimes, the IMF said in a statement. Switzerland, Norway, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Britain, Luxembourg, South Korea and France will provide about two-thirds of the financing for the fund, according to the statement. "Discussions are still ongoing with a number of other donors who have also expressed interest in contributing to the trust fund," the 185-member IMF said. The fund is the first in a series of so-called Topical Trust Funds planned to be rolled out over the next year, on topics such as public financial management and management of natural resource wealth, it said. "Money laundering and terrorist financing activities can undermine the soundness and stability of financial institutions and systems, discourage foreign investment, and distort international capital flows," said the IMF. "Moreover, problems in one country can quickly spread to other countries in the region or in other parts of the world," it added. Demand for the IMF's technical assistance is rising in light of the current global economic and financial crisis, but also because countries are seeking to strengthen their institutions, according to the statement.