At a news conference today, officials of the Financial Action Task Force released information on its 14th Annual Report, submitted to the Plenary held June 18-20, in Berlin.
South Africa and the Russian Federation have been admitted as full members of the FATF following a positive outcome to the first mutual evaluations. These evaluations assessed their systems for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
The addition of South Africa and the Russian Federation to its membership strengthens the FATF’s representation worldwide. The other 29 member countries and governments of the FATF are: Argentina; Australia; Austria; Belgium; Brazil; Canada; Denmark; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hong Kong, China; Iceland; Ireland; Italy; Japan; Luxembourg; Mexico; the Kingdom of the Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Portugal; Singapore; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey; United Kingdom and the United States. Two international organisations are also members of the FATF, viz. the European Commission and the Gulf Co-operation Council.
**Non-cooperative Countries and Territories**
The FATF removed St. Vincent and the Grenadines from its list of Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories (NCCTs). The Task Force indicated that, in line with past practice, it will continue to monitor closely the implementation of the anti-money laundering system in this jurisdiction.
The current list of NCCTs includes: Cook Islands, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nigeria, Philippines and Ukraine. The FATF took the opportunity to remind its members to update their advisories to take into account changes in the list. These advisories request that financial institutions in member countries give special attention to businesses and transactions with persons, including companies and financial institutions, in listed countries or territories.
The FATF welcomed further progress made by some of the jurisdictions on the list:
·Egypt, Guatemala, and the Philippines will be invited to submit implementation plans to enable the FATF to evaluate the actual implementation of their legislative changes.
·The FATF welcomes the continued progress of Ukraine to improve its anti-money laundering system and encourages the Ukrainian authorities to pursue their efforts. If Ukraine maintains its current pace of reform it may be asked to submit an implementation plan in the near future.
·The FATF welcomes Nauru’s recent legislative efforts to eliminate offshore shell banks and encourages Nauru to take additional steps to ensure that shell banks cease to operate and cease banking activity.
The FATF plans to review the situation of each NCCT at its next Plenary meeting, scheduled to be held on October 1-3, 2003.
**Revised 40 Recommendations**
At the Plenary meeting in Berlin, the FATF also released the revised 40 Recommendations to combat money laundering, worldwide. * (See separate Industry News Item for a report on the revisions and copy of the revised 40 Recommendations, as well as the statement from Switzerland)*
G-7 Finance Ministers also issued a Statement today, indicating that they welcome the action taken by the FATF. The Statement said, *”This new standard represents a crucial step forward in the international fight against financial crime. The revision of the FATF 40 recommendations significantly enhances the standard for customer due diligence, broadens the scope of the money laundering offence, improves transparency of legal persons and arrangements and strengthens international cooperation and suspicious transactions reporting.”* G-7 Ministers noted that the revised standards also enlarge the scope of non-financial professions and businesses involved in this collective effort.
The Ministers concluded, *”We strongly endorse these new Recommendations and reaffirm our commitment to taking early steps towards complying with this revised standard and to promoting its world-wide implementation.”*