Pakistan likely to remain on grey list as FATF session begins

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In the previous session in June this year, Pakistan was retained on the FATF ‘grey list’ for failing to effectively implement the global FATF standards…reports Asian Lite News

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in Paris started a hybrid meeting on Tuesday to discuss boosting global action against terrorism financing and crimes.

The FATF is set to 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.

Pakistan will present a review of its performance on the matter of terror financing and other issues, Ary News reported citing sources. “A decision with regard to change in the status of Pakistan will likely be decided by April 2022,” sources said.

According to the report by Ary News, the task force session will also review the ground realities of Pakistan and the implementation of legislation. “Any decision with regard to removal/non-removal of Pakistan from the grey list will be taken after it,” sources said.

In the previous session in June this year, 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.

FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer had said Pakistan will remain on the grey list till it addresses all items on the original action plan agreed to in June 2018 as well as all items on a parallel action plan handed out by the watchdog’s regional partner – the Asia Pacific Group (APG) – in 2019.

Pleyer had noted that “Pakistan has made significant progress and it has largely addressed 26 out of 27 items on the action plan it first committed to in June 2018.”

He, however, added that the item on financial terrorism” still needed to be addressed which concerned the “investigation and prosecution of senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terror groups”.

Likely to remain on grey list

Pakistan is expected to remain on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) till April 2022, as the country works towards completing an action plan to counter money laundering and terrorism financing.

Pakistan’s name is expected to remain on the grey list till the next session of the FATF in April 2022, because of its failure to ensure complete compliance with action plan, which it was presented by the watchdog’s regional partner, the Asia Pacific Group (APG).

Pakistan failed in completing at least six out of the 27-point action plan in its previous assessment at the FATF, which included enhancing international cooperation and demonstrating that assistance is being sought from foreign countries in implementing UN Security Council designations.

FATF assessments hold great importance for Pakistan as financial donors including International Monetary Fund (IMF), UN and the Egmost Group of Financial Intelligence Units are also going to be part of the FATF meeting as observer organisations.

The FATF said in a statement that it “will finalise key reports, including the revised guidance on virtual assets and their service providers and discuss the next steps to strengthen its standards on transparency of beneficial ownership”.

On June 25, the FATF decided to keep Pakistan on its grey list, handing over six new anti-money laundering areas to work on.

It however, recognised Pakistan’s progress and efforts to address items in its country action plan that refers to combating terror financing. (with inputs from ANI and Hamza Ameer from IANS)

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