The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) concluded its most recent Plenary session in Paris today, with over 400 delegates from 32 jurisdiction and 16 international organisations in attendance.
Launched at the Plenary was an ambitious project to explore the symbiotic relationship amongst corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing – and how the FATF’s AML/CFT experience can best be used to combat these combined threats.
The FATF welcomed the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1617 (2005), which *“strongly urges all Member States to implement the comprehensive, international standards”* embodied in the FATF Forty Recommendations on money laundering and the Nine Special Recommendations on terrorist financing. A release from the FATF noted that this formal endorsement of its standards by the UN Security Council is a major step toward effective implementation of the Recommendations throughout the world.
A mutual evaluation process introduced some 10 years ago represents a central pillar of the work of the FATF during this period. Through this process, the FATF has monitored the implementation of the FATF Forty Recommendations and has assessed the effectiveness of the anti-money laundering systems in FATF member jurisdictions. At the recent meeting, the Task Force reviewed the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing systems of three countries: Australia, Italy and Switzerland.
Preliminary outcomes of the third round of mutual evaluations reportedly show that while FATF members are making very serious efforts to implement the new standards, effective implementation will take further effort. Therefore, the FATF will continue to closely monitor the progress of all its members.
Professor Kader Asmal of the Republic of South Africa has assumed the chairmanship of the FATF. He said, *“We must continue to strengthen partnerships around the world if we are to win this war against money laundering and terrorist financing.”*
The FATF removed Nauru from its list of non-cooperative countries and territories (NCCTs) after Nauru abolished its 400 shell banks, thus removing the major money laundering risk. Myanmar and Nigeria are the only two countries still remaining on the list. The FATF noted, however, that they have adopted many necessary legal reforms and encouraged further implementation.
The next Plenary meeting will be held in February 2006, in Cape Town. Prior to that, FATF members will join with members of GAFISUD, the South American regional body, in November to study emerging threats in the areas of new payment technologies, the use of corporate vehicles and trade-based money laundering.