The intergovernmental group defined the jurisdictions which have made progress in the fight against dirty money and those which remain under surveillance and must raise their level.
Mauritius and Botswana are no longer on a “gray list” of jurisdictions subject to increased scrutiny of their issues of combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other illicit money flows, while the islands Caymans and Malta remain on the list.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental group fighting against dirty money, held its sixth plenary meeting since the start of the pandemic – via video links – late last week to consider in which measures countries have succeeded or failed in cleaning up financial systems and demonstrating that they are tackling laundered money and other threats.
In recent months, a number of countries have been informed that they are under increased surveillance, a process that means a country promises to detect problems early and resolve them within an agreed timeframe, say two years. The FATF said it has been flexible in imposing deadlines due to the disruption caused by COVID-19.
The following countries have seen their progress since June 2021 reviewed by the FATF: Albania, Barbados, Botswana, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Malta, Mauritius, Morocco, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe. These countries have “strategic deficiencies,” said the FATF.
Burkina Faso, Haiti and South Sudan had the opportunity and chose to postpone the declaration.
The controversy over jurisdictions used as places to hide money took another turn earlier in October when the Washington DC-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released a large “leaked” data file from a mass centers around the world. Once again, this story sparked a debate on how to balance the protection of legitimate financial privacy and thwart the flow of illicit money.
In the case of the Cayman Islands, the British Overseas Territory and registration hub for many hedge funds and other entities, the FATF said: “In February 2021, the Cayman Islands made a political commitment to work with the FATF and the CFATF. strengthen the effectiveness of its AML / CFT regime.
“The Cayman Islands should continue to work on the implementation of their action plan to address their strategic deficiencies, including by: (1) imposing adequate and effective sanctions in cases where the parties concerned (including individuals legal) fail to file accurate, adequate and up-to-date documents – date information on beneficial owners in accordance with these requirements; and (2) demonstrate that they prosecute all types of money laundering cases in accordance with the risk profile of the jurisdiction and that these prosecutions result in the application of dissuasive, effective and proportionate sanctions ”, he said. declared.
Regarding Malta, a European Member State rocked by national political controversies over governance, the FATF said: “In June 2021, Malta made a political commitment to work with the FATF and MONEYVAL to strengthen the effectiveness of its AML / CFT regime. . ”
“Malta should continue to work on the implementation of its action plan to address its strategic gaps,” he said, listing a series of tasks.
As for Panama, the Central American jurisdiction long known as an offshore financial center, the group said: “In June 2019, Panama made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and GAFILAT to strengthen the effectiveness of its AML / CFT regime. . Panama has taken steps to improve its AML / CFT regime, including implementing risk-based surveillance of the DNFBP sector and increasing parallel investigations into the predicate offense and the money laundering offense.
“However, Panama should take urgent measures to fully implement the remaining measures in its action plan, as all the deadlines have already expired. Panama should therefore continue to work on the implementation of its action plan for address its strategic shortcomings, ”he said, listing a series of actions that the court must take.