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Pakistan’s ‘grey list’ fate hangs in balance as FATF meets in Paris on Feb 17

February 14, 2019
Pakistan’s ‘grey list’ fate hangs in balance as FATF meets in Paris on Feb 17

Pakistan to brief on measures it has taken against suspicious transactions and fake accounts

Photo: FATF/file

The International Financial Action Task Force is going to review measures taken by Pakistan to curb money laundering and terror financing next week.

The European Commission has proposed to put the country’s name on the black list.

Pakistan government has finalised a strategy for meeting with FATF. The meeting will be held from February 17 to 22 in Paris, France.

The federal government has prepared a functional strategy for FATF meeting, a high-level delegation led by finance secretary will represent Pakistan in the said talks.

Related: European Union may add Pakistan to its money laundering blacklist

National Counter Terrorism Authority director general and other top officials from the Financial Monitoring Unit of the State Bank will be part of the delegation too.

Pakistan team will brief the FATF authorities on measures it has taken to curb money laundering and terror financing. The delegation will put forward a list of measures Pakistan wants to adopt.

Meanwhile, the Asia Pacific Group (AGP) of FATF will present its report on meeting held with Pakistani authorities in Sydney from January 8 to January 10.

In that meeting, APG group reviewed Pakistan’s progress in four key areas: terrorism financing risk assessment report, Customs department’s report on cash couriers, implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions, and inter-agency coordination

According to sources, FATF will decide about retaining Pakistan’s name in the greylist or include it in the black list, after completion of its review in September 2019.

Pakistan is among 83 countries with a risk score of 5.0 or above. These are countries that could be loosely classified as having a significant risk of money laundering and terrorist financing, according to the Basel AML Report 2018, an independent annual ranking that assesses the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing in 129 countries.

“Money laundering and terrorist financing continue to cripple economies, distort international finances and harm citizens around the globe,” says the report, which forms its global index based on the FATF’s country evaluation reports. It estimates that the amount of money laundered worldwide ranges from $500 billion to a staggering $1 trillion.

Related: Assets and accounts of banned outfits seized, Pakistan govt tells FATF in Sydney dialogue

Pakistan has criminalised both money laundering and terrorist financing but has not been able to enforce these laws effectively. Being on the grey list doesn’t come with any sanctions, but if we remain on this list, we face the risk of being put on the black list. This is where it gets problematic.

Being on the black list means our banking system will be regarded as one with poor controls over AML and CFT standards — forget bringing PayPal to Pakistan, expatriates will find it difficult to send remittances and traders’ cost of business will increase because our banks will face higher scrutiny in international payments and foreign banks might not even do business with Pakistani banks. The government, too, will struggle to raise funds from international markets if we are placed on the black list.

Pakistan has been on and off the grey list in the past. The last time we were removed from the grey list was in February 2015. If the ongoing consultations between the FATF and the Pakistani government are successful, we will be taken off the grey list and placed on the white list.

 

 
 
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One Comment

  1. Avatar
    James   February 15, 2019 8:38 am/ Reply

    More likely Pakistan will stay in Gray List or upgraded to Black list. Govt has no control on stopping terrorist organisations to collect funds. This is a Red flag.

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