FATF set to verify Pak for money laundering, terrorist financing during on-site visit
Global money laundering and terrorism watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is due for on-site visit to Pakistan next month to verify steps taken by the country to exit the watchdog's grey list.
Global money laundering and terrorism watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is due for on-site visit to Pakistan next month to verify steps taken by the country to exit the watchdog's grey list. According to Pakistani media outlet The Express Tribune's official sources, Pakistan is expecting the FATF team in September before the next plenary due in October. Ahead of the all-important visit, Pakistan is finalising its strategy and holding consultations with all the relevant authorities.
The major stumbling block was the prosecution of certain UN security Council (UNSC)-designated individuals accused of terror financing. The grey listing makes it hard for the countries to do financial transactions and raises the cost of doing business. Last week, a crucial meeting chaired by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar was convened at the Foreign Office for this purpose, according to the media outlet's sources.
The National FATF Coordination Committee was given a detailed briefing on the recent legal, policy and administrative actions to improve the effectiveness of Pakistan's Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime. The meeting was attended by senior officers from the National FATF Secretariat, ministries of finance, foreign affairs, interior, law and justice, State Bank of Pakistan, Financial Monitoring Unit, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue, National Counter-Terrorism Authority, Federal Investigation Agency, Anti-Narcotics Force, and the National Accountability Bureau.
FATF on June 17 said that Pakistan will continue to stay on its 'grey list' and a final decision to remove it from the list will be taken after an "on-site" verification visit by the Paris-based body. This decision was announced after the conclusion of the FATF plenary in Berlin, where delegates from governments around the world and partner organizations, including the UN and IMF discussed key money laundering and terrorist financing issues.
"At its June 2022 Plenary, the FATF made the initial determination that Pakistan has substantially completed its two action plans, covering 34 items, and warrants an on-site visit to verify that the implementation of Pakistan's AML/CFT reforms has begun and is being sustained, and that the necessary political commitment remains in place to sustain implementation and improvement in the future," the FATF said in a statement. "The FATF will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and conduct an on-site visit at the earliest possible date," it added.
Pakistan has been on the Paris-based global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog's grey list for deficiencies in its counter-terror financing and anti-money laundering regimes since June 2018. This greylisting has adversely impacted its imports, exports, remittances, and limited access to international lending. In June 2021, the country was given three months to fulfil the remaining conditions by October. However, Pakistan was retained on the FATF 'grey list' for failing to effectively implement the global FATF standards and over its lack of progress on investigation and prosecution of senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terror groups.
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