ASIA: FATF to review Pakistan’s measures to fight terror financing at plenary meeting.

As published on hindustantimes.com, Tuesday 19 October, 2021.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will review Pakistan’s efforts to curb money laundering and terror financing at a plenary meeting to be held during October 19-21.

At its last virtual plenary meeting in June, the multilateral watchdog had retained Pakistan in its “grey list” for failing to adequately investigate and prosecute leaders of UN-designated terrorist groups, and also asked the country to implement a new action plan to tackle serious money laundering risks.

FATF said on Monday the upcoming plenary meeting, to be held in a hybrid format, will update its statements on the list of countries under increased monitoring or the grey list. All countries on the grey list have “strategic deficiencies” in their measures to combat money laundering and terror financing.

Virtually connected delegates will join those who travel to Paris for three days of meetings to discuss “key issues to strengthen global action against the financial flows that fuel crime and terrorism”, the watchdog said.

Delegates will discuss the “outcomes of the FATF’s survey to identify areas where divergent anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing rules or their implementation cause friction for cross-border payments”. FATF is leading work on this aspect of the G20’s priority to improve cross-border payments.

The meeting will also discuss the next steps to strengthen FATF’s standards on transparency of beneficial ownership, and finalise key reports, including revised guidance on virtual assets and their service providers.

Under the German presidency of Marcus Pleyer, delegates representing 205 members of the global network and observer organisations, including the International Monetary Fund, United Nations and Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, will participate in the plenary meeting.

After its last plenary, FATF had said that Pakistan had completed all but one of the 27 items in an old action plan that was drawn up to tackle money laundering and terror financing. The action plan was finalised after Pakistan was placed on the grey list in June 2018.

The remaining item in the action plan was demonstrating that investigations and prosecutions of terrorist financing target senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups.

The new action plan to tackle money laundering was drawn up after FATF’s regional partner, the Asia Pacific Group, identified a “number of serious issues” during an assessment of Pakistan in 2019.