The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Plenary and Working Group meetings to be held in Orlando on June 16-21, 2019 are likely to decide whether to remove Pakistan from the grey-list or downgrade it further to the black-list based on the assessment report of Asia Pacific Group (APG), according to a report published in Business Recorder.
During the Asia Pacific-Joint Group face-to-face meeting in Guangzhou, China, on May 15-16, Pakistan presented its case and presented all the actions that it had taken in compliance with FATF’s regulations.
Based on this the APG group will prepare a report which will be presented at the Plenary and Working Group meeting at Orlando, Florida. “Pakistan has taken enough steps with regard to money laundering and combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) in compliance with the FATA requirements to be removed from the grey list,” an official said.
According to the report, the officials told that efforts are underway to improve diplomatic ties with member states to get a favourable vote and counteract the Indian lobby towards downgrading Pakistan to the blacklist. They further claimed that there was informal acknowledgement in the APG meeting in China that Pakistan has made sufficient progress on the FATF Action Plan. The official said that India was still co-chairing the APG meeting despite Pakistan’s reservations and demands for replacement.
It is pertinent to mention that India has been aggressively lobbying to get Pakistan downgraded from the greylist to the blacklist. And Pakistan had raised concerns over the FATF’s decision to appoint India as Joint Group’s co-chair, saying the decision would undermine the authenticity of the watchdog.
Earlier in June 2018, Pakistan was placed in the grey-list.
Moreover, the ICRG of the APG had identified four key areas of concerns, including deficiencies in the supervision of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing regimes, cross-border illicit movement of currency by terrorist groups, progress on terrorism financing investigation and prosecution and implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions 1267 and 1373, for curbing terror financing.
Sources said that sufficient actions have been taken by Pakistan during the past few weeks including setting up of a Directorate of Cross Border Currency Movement (CBCM) in Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to foil foreign currency money laundering. The directorate will share a daily report with the agencies tasked to counter money laundering. The directorate will refer suspicious transactions to the relevant department for action.
Additionally, the AML Amendment Bill 2019 has been introduced in Parliament envisaging punitive punishment to those involved in money laundering and a ban was recently imposed on various organizations, sources further stated. A meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday to review progress on the FATF Action Plan.
A 10-member delegation attended APG meeting to present Pakistan’s compliance report on Action Plan on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT). Pakistani delegation comprised of Mohammad Younus Dagha, Secretary Finance, Mansoor Hassan Siddiqui, Director General Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU), Muneb Zia, legal advisor, FMU, Muhammad Iqbal, Director General, (CT) NACTA, Syed Irfan Ali, Executive Director State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Ahmad Farooq, Director General (CT) Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chaudhry Muhammad Javaid, Chief (l&l Customs) Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Sikandar Hayat, Joint Secretary (Law) Ministry of Interior, Khalida Habib, Executive Director Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), and Mazhar-ul-Haq Kakakhel, Director Federal Investigation Agency (FlA) attended the APG Joint Group face-to-face meeting in China to defend Pakistan’s case.