“The first FATF Plenary under T. Raja Kumar’s two-year Singapore Presidency will be held on October 20-21, 2022,” said the Paris-based global watchdog on dirty money. Delegates from 206 Global Network members and observer organisations, including the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the World Bank, Interpol, and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, will attend the Working Group and Plenary meetings in Paris, according to the statement.
The plenary will also focus on jurisdictions identified as posing a risk to the international financial system, with an update to public statements identifying jurisdictions as high risk or requiring increased monitoring, as well as guidance on improving beneficial ownership transparency to prevent shell companies and other opaque structures from being used to launder illicit funds.
Pakistan was added to the list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring in June 2018 due to deficiencies in its legal, financial, regulatory, investigations, prosecution, judicial, and non-governmental sectors to combat money laundering and terror financing, both of which are considered serious threats to the global financial system.
Under a 27-point action plan, Islamabad made high-level political commitments to address these deficiencies. However, the number of action points was later increased to 34. Since then, the country has been actively working with FATF and its affiliates to strengthen its legal and financial systems against money laundering and terror financing in order to meet international standards in accordance with the FATF’s 40 recommendations.
From August 29 to September 2, a 15-member joint delegation of the FATF and its Sydney-based regional affiliate, Asia Pacific Group, visited Pakistan to verify the country’s compliance with the FATF’s 34-point action plan.
The authorities who had kept the delegation’s countrywide visit under wraps later described it as “a smooth and successful visit.” The delegation held detailed discussions with relevant agencies in preparation for the FATF Plenary’s authorization of an on-site visit in June 2022. According to the Foreign Office, the purpose of the visit was to validate Pakistan’s high-level commitment and sustainability of reforms in the AML/CFT regime on the ground, and [it] looked forward to the logical conclusion of the evaluation process. The FATF Onsite team’s report will be discussed at the FATF’s International Cooperation Review Group and plenary meetings.
Pakistan believed that after four years of hard work, it had not only achieved a high level of technical compliance with FATF standards, but also ensured a high level of effectiveness through the implementation of two comprehensive FATF action plans.
FATF found Pakistan “compliant or largely compliant” on all 34 points in June this year and decided to send an onsite mission to verify it on the ground before formally announcing the country’s exit from the grey list, which occurred in August and September.
In terms of technical compliance with FATF standards, Pakistan was rated “compliant or largely compliant” by APG in 38 of 40 FATF recommendations in August of this year, placing the country among the top compliant countries in the world.
Completion of the FATF/APG action plan for AML/CFT effectiveness was also a structural benchmark of the IMF for end-March 2022, and it was accomplished in June with a minor delay. The government had promised the IMF that it would review the implementation of AML/CFT controls by financial institutions in relation to the tax amnesty programme for the construction sector by the end of June 2022, and that it would “meet the timelines for the implementation of APG’s 2021 Action Plan, including on the mutual legal assistance framework, AML/CFT supervision, transparency of beneficial ownership information, and compliance with targeted financial sanctions for pr.
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