FATF Plenary Current Affairs - 2020

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China moves against Pakistan in FATF, Turkey now the only supporter

China has joined India and United States in putting Pakistan on Grey list of the FATF (Financial Action Task Force). Both China and Saudi Arabia have joined US, India and other European countries sending stern messages to Pakistan against its actions of terror funding money laundering

Highlights

A Plenary session of the FATF is to be held in June 2020. China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey were the three countries that supported Pakistan against FATF move in putting Pakistan under Grey List. Now Turkey and Malaysia are the only supporters. 12 out of 39 votes are required to move out of FATF list which Pakistan will not be able to.

Pakistan is currently on Grey List of FATF and with its major supporters withdrawing their backing, Pakistan will continue to remain on FATF Grey list. Pakistan was put on the list in June 2018. It was given a plan of action which the country was supposed to complete by October 2019. Failing of which will place it under black list.

FATF Grey List and Black List

The FATF is a Paris based organization that combats terrorism funding and money laundering.

Grey List

The countries that are not safe and are supporting money laundering and terror funding are included in the list.

Black List

The countries that is uncooperative tax havens for terror funding. They are also called Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs).

Countries currently in Black List and Grey List

The lists now have been renamed to “Call for Action” and “Monitored Jurisdiction”. The Call for Action countries or the Black List Countries include Iran and North Korea.

The Monitored Jurisdiction or Grey List include Iceland, Ghana, Botswana, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Mongolia and Cambodia.

The above lists are updates as of February 20, 2020.

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FATF Plenary meet: Pakistan to be scrutinized

The six-day plenary meeting of FATF – Financial Action Task Force is to be held in Paris. It is a part of the FATF Week that is being celebrated between October 13 and October 18, 2019. The meeting is attended by representatives from 205 countries and jurisdictions all around the world. It includes IMF, UN, World Bank and other leading organizations. The meeting will focus on financial flows that are linked to terrorism and crime.

The China Factor in the Meet

It is the first Plenary meeting under the Presidency of China. Among the important factors to be discussed in the meet the progress by Pakistan, Iran and other countries that present risk to the financial system is highly crucial, especially for China. This is because, Pakistan being an all-weather ally of China, all eyes are to be focused on China.

In the June Plenary meet, Pakistan received 3 needed votes from China, Turkey and Malaysia. This prevented the country from entering the blacklist.

India, UK and USA want Pakistan to be included in FATF Black list while China and Turkey are against the move.

FATF on Pakistan

The countries are recommended to the blacklist category based on the Mutual Evaluation Report. According to the report published in 2019, of 10 effective ratings, Pakistan was found low in 9 areas.

In its money laundering report, 2019, FATF slammed Pakistan for its terror funding.

Plenary meet

The FATF plenary year begins in July and ends in June. Every year, the FATF holds three plenary meetings. They usually take place in October, June and February. This October the following discussions are to be made in the plenary meet

  • To assess if the countries are regulating virtual asset sector to prevent misuse of crime and terror
  • To assess Russia and Turkey measures to combat money laundering
  • To discuss the impact of “stable coins” on the supervision of virtual assets
  • Actions taken by Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Singapore, Spain and Saudi Arabia since their assessments
  • Developments in financing of Al – Qaeda, ISIL and Affiliates

FATF Blacklist

The FATF black list or the OECD black list is issued by the FATF since 2000. Such description is given to those countries that are non – cooperative in the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. The FATF is updated regularly.

Current South Korea and Iran are in the FATF Blacklist category.

FATF Grey list

The FATF Grey list comprises of those countries that have flaws in their financial regulation. The countries that are currently under FATF grey list are Bahamas, Botswana, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Pakistan, Panama, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trianidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen

Pakistan was added to the Grey list category in 2012 and later was removed from the list in 2015. However, in 2018 it was again added to the grey list category.

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