The thirty three member body of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) convened yesterday in a Plenary Session in Stockholm to set global standards in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
Bahamas Attorney General the Hon. Alfred Sears, M.P., participated in the Plenary in his capacity as Chairman of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).
CFATF is an organisation of twenty-six states of the Caribbean basin that have agreed to implement common countermeasures to address the problem of criminal money laundering.
According to President, Mr. Claes Norgren, * “The FATF has placed a high priority on fostering concrete action to dry up the flow of funds to terrorists”.*
*· As part of the international campaign against terrorist financing, the FATF has decided to set forth in greater detail the obligations to freeze effectively terrorist-related assets as well as best practices to stem the flow of terrorist funds through the formal financial system. This is part of the process of providing guidance to jurisdictions and the international financial community to reduce the risk of terrorist financing.
· The FATF is also taking concrete steps to assess the needs of countries for technical assistance to comply with the Eight Special Recommendations. These efforts are being undertaken with the Counter-Terrorism Action Group (CTAG) as well as with other international bodies, to ensure that the donor community is aware of specific technical needs to combat terrorist financing.*
**Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories**
The current list of NCCTs remains the same as in June 2003: **Cook Islands, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nigeria, Philippines** and **Ukraine**. The FATF has called on its members to maintain advisories requesting that their financial institutions give special attention to businesses and transactions with persons, including companies and financial institutions, in listed countries or territories.
*· The FATF has taken the serious step of calling upon its members to impose additional counter-measures on Myanmar. These counter-measures will apply automatically as of 3 November 2003 unless Myanmar introduces mutual legal assistance legislation into its parliament and issues comprehensive implementing rules and regulations for its anti-money laundering law by that time.*
The FATF welcomed further progress made by several jurisdictions on the list, including Ukraine which has recently submitted an implementation plan to FATF.
At its next Plenary meeting scheduled for the 25-27 February 2004, the FATF will again review the situation of each NCCT.
**Collaboration between FATF and IFIs**
The FATF is actively pursuing its collaboration with the IMF and the World Bank to ensure that the Forty and Eight Special Recommendations are implemented worldwide.
During 2003, the FATF and these organisations have been using a common methodology to assess compliance with standards. This process is now being updated to take into account the revised Forty Recommendations issued in June 2003. The FATF will continue to work closely with the international financial institutions.
Further information about the FATF, its efforts to combat terrorist financing, the Forty Recommendations and the present list of non-cooperative countries and territories can be found at its web site. (see link below)