FATAF warrants ‘on-site’ visit to verify Pak AML/CFT reforms

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Pakistan moves closer to removal from ‘grey list’

Says Islamabad completes FATF’s action plans ahead of set times; Hina congratulates countrymen

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said on Friday that Pakistan had met all 34 items on two separate action plans, adding that the watchdog will now schedule an on-site visit to verify the implementation and sustainability of the country’s money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures before removing it from its increased monitoring list, also known as the grey list.

According to a statement by the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, Pakistan has substantially completed all items on both its action plans, which showed that necessary political commitment was in place to sustain implementation and improvement in the future.

While announcing the watchdog’s decision, FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer acknowledged the reforms implemented by the country, saying “they are good for the stability and security of the country”. He, however, added that “Pakistan is not being removed from the grey list today. The country will be removed from the list if it successfully passes the on-site visit”. Pleyer said Pakistan will have to ensure (during the visit) that it effectively tackled money laundering and funding of terrorist groups. “Pakistan demonstrated that terror financing investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups and that there is a positive upwards trend in the number of money laundering investigations and prosecutions being pursued in Pakistan, in line with Pakistan’s risk profile,” the watchdog’s written statement said. Pakistan also largely addressed its 2021 action plan ahead of the set times, it added. “The FATF will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation and conduct an on-site visit at the earliest possible date,” said the watchdog.

The watchdog noted that since June 2018, when Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with FATF, Islamabad continued its political commitment to combating both terror financing and money laundering that led to significant progress. FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer, while addressing a press conference after the plenary meeting, noted that Pakistani authorities have done a lot of work.

Soon after the development, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar congratulated the country, saying the international community had “unanimously” acknowledged the country’s efforts.

“Our success is the result of four years of a challenging journey. Pakistan reaffirms resolve to continue the momentum and give our economy a boost,” she said.

The FATF decision came during a press conference after the conclusion of a four-day plenary session that began in Berlin, Germany, on Tuesday.

Delegates representing 206 FATF members and observers, including the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, attended the plenary session. Meanwhile, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a press release, said, “Pakistan continued its relentless efforts towards successful completion of these Action Plans despite many challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic. Pakistan has covered a lot of ground in the Anti- Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) domain during implementation of FATF Action Plans. The engagement with FATF has led to the development of a strong AML/CFT framework in Pakistan and resulted in improving the country’s systems to cope with future challenges.

 

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