FATF Plenary Current Affairs - 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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Saudi Arabia becomes 1st Arab country to get full FATF membership

Saudi Arabia has become 1st Arab country to be granted full membership of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) following FATF’s Annual General Meeting held in Orlando, Florida in United States (US).

Saudi Arabia and FATF

Background: Since November 2004, Saudi Arabia has been a founding member of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) arm of FATF group. At the beginning of 2015 Saudi Arabia had received an invitation from FATF as an observer member.

Now, the kingdom’s accession came as global money laundering watchdog celebrated 30th anniversary of its 1st meeting held in Paris (France) in 1989.

The full membership to Saudi Arabia comes after it was reported that Kingdom had made tangible progress for its efforts in implementing FATF’s guidelines.

What is FATF?

It was established in 1989, with headquarters in Paris, France.

Members: FATF comprises of 37-member jurisdictions and 2 Regional Organisations namely Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and European Commission (EC). With kingdom becoming a FATF member, the number of permanent members in group is now 39.

FATF Plenary: is FATF’s decision making body. It meets three times per year.

Function: The Financial Action Task Force is an international group responsible for issuing international standards, policies and best practices for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation and other related threats to integrity of international financial system.

Recent Developments: FATF has notified that Pakistan failed to complete its action plan on terror financing and has strongly urged Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan by October 2019 or else face consequences.

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