FATF decides to keep Pakistan on grey list

Anti-money laundering watchdog rules out possibility of blacklisting country

ISLAMABAD: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided to keep Pakistan on the grey list.

Announcing the decision, FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer said that Pakistan had to complete two concurrent action plans with a total of 34 items. “It has now addressed or largely addressed 30 of the items,” he said.

“Its most recent action plan from June this year, which largely focused on money laundering deficiencies, was issued after the FATF’s regional partner — the Asia Pacific Group — identified a number of serious issues.”

“Overall, Pakistan is making good progress on this new action plan. Four out of the seven items are now addressed or largely addressed,” he added.

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In a statement, the Finance Division said that the FATF had recognised the “considerable progress” made by Pakistan on both the action plans.

The statement said that Pakistan had completed four of the seven items on the 2021 action plan, adding that these were completed “much before” the timelines prescribed by the FATF. It said that progress on the remaining three items was “well underway” and the aim was to complete them ahead of the timelines set by the financial watchdog.

“The action items that have been completed include amendments in the Mutual Legal Assistance Act, 2020, AML/CFT [anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism] supervision of designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs), transparency of beneficial ownership information and implementation of targeted financial sanctions for proliferation finance by DNFBPs,” the statement said.

The remaining items in the 2021 action plan include investigation and prosecution of money laundering cases, confiscation of assets and UN listings, it added.

Regarding the single item remaining on the 2018 action plan, the Finance Division said that Pakistan had submitted a comprehensive progress report in this regard.

“The FATF acknowledged Pakistan’s continued political commitment, which led to significant progress across a comprehensive CFT action plan and encouraged Pakistan to report further progress on investigation and prosecution,” the statement said.

The Finance Division noted that “considerable work” has been carried out on the remaining items of both action plans, adding that the FATF will review Pakistan’s progress in February 2022.

Commenting on the action plan devised in 2018 which focused on terror financing, the FATF president said that Pakistan was still assessed to have largely addressed 26 out of 27 items.

“Pakistan has taken a number of important steps but needs to further demonstrate that investigations and prosecutions are being pursued against the senior leadership of UN designated terror groups,” he said.

Responding to a question about whether Pakistan would be blacklisted for its failure to act against those on the UN terrorism list, Dr Pleyer said that the country had completed 30 items out of 34 on two action plans.

“This shows the clear commitment of the Pakistani government so there is no discussion on blacklisting Pakistan and the FATF urges the country to address the remaining four items,” he said, adding that the government was cooperating with the financial watchdog.

 

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