Friday, March 04, 2022

FATF once again retains Pakistan on grey list

FATF says Pakistan has completed 26 of the 27 action items in its 2018 action plan

— Twitter/File
— Twitter/File

  • FATF says that Pakistan has completed 26 of the 27 action items in its 2018 action plan.
  • "FATF encourages Pakistan to continue to make progress," the statement says.
  • Plenary appoints T Raja Kumar of Singapore as the next President of the FATF.

PARIS: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday announced that it is retaining Pakistan on the grey list while noting that "significant progress" has been made in completing the required action items for removal from the list.

The FATF, in its statement, said that Pakistan has completed 26 of the 27 action items in its 2018 action plan.

"Since June 2018, when Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and APG to strengthen its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regime and to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies, Pakistan’s continued political commitment has led to significant progress across a comprehensive CFT action plan," the statement read.

It further added the FATF encourages Pakistan to continue to make progress to address, as soon as possible, the one remaining item by continuing to demonstrate that TF investigations and prosecutions target senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups.

The international watchdog said that in response to additional deficiencies later identified in Pakistan’s 2019 APG Mutual Evaluation Report (MER), in June 2021, Pakistan provided further high-level commitment to address these “strategic deficiencies pursuant to a new action plan that primarily focuses on combating money laundering.”

It further added since June 2021, Pakistan has taken swift steps towards improving its AML/CFT regime and completed six of the seven action items ahead of any relevant deadlines expiring, including by demonstrating that it is enhancing the impact of sanctions by nominating individuals and entities for UN designation and restraining and confiscating proceeds of crime in line with Pakistan’s risk profile.

“Pakistan should continue to work to address the one remaining item in its 2021 action plan by demonstrating a positive and sustained trend of pursuing complex ML investigations and prosecutions,” the statement read.

Pakistan endeavouring to complete remaining items of action plan: Finance Division 

According to a statement issued by the Finance Division, the FATF reviewed Pakistan’s progress on both action plans in its Plenary meeting.

"The FATF members, while participating in the discussion on Pakistan’s progress, recognised Pakistan’s continuing commitment towards sustainable, robust AML/CFT frameworks," the statement said. 

"Pakistan presented its case in an effective manner and also reaffirmed its political commitment to continue with the efforts to complete the action plans."

"The country is making endeavours to complete the last two remaining items of both the action plans, as early as possible."

Plenary appoints Raja Kumar of Singapore as next president

This week, the Plenary took the formal decision to appoint T Raja Kumar of Singapore as the next president of the FATF, for a fixed two-year term.

The statement further added member countries made this decision following a comprehensive process, led by the current FATF president Dr Marcus Pleyer. The decision was made after consultations with all delegations.

“A number of highly-qualified candidates were put forward by the FATF membership, each presenting his/her priorities and vision for the future of the FATF,” it said.

As a result of this process, the FATF Plenary agreed to appoint Kumar as the next president of the FATF.

Kumar will take up his duties on 1 July 2022, the day after the two-year presidency of Dr Pleyer concludes.

In October, the international watchdog retained Pakistan on the grey list, while noting that "good progress" had been made in completing the required action items for removal from the list.

At that time, Dr Pleyer had said that Pakistan has two concurrent action plans with a total of 34 action plan items. "It has now addressed, or largely addressed 30 of the items," he had said back in October.

Pakistan has been on the FATF’s increased monitoring list, known as the grey list, since June 2018.