Pakistan blacklisted by FATF subgroup; finance ministry denies reports

The Asia-Pacific Group (APG), a regional affiliate of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has placed the Pakistan in the “Enhanced Expedited Follow Up List (Blacklist)” for its failure to meet its standards.

In its meeting in Canberra, the APG found that Pakistan was non-compliant on 32 of the 40 compliance parameters of terror financing and money laundering, officials said.

The FATF APG discussions lasted over seven hours over two days. On 11 effectiveness parameters Pakistan was adjudged as low on 10.
Pakistan rejects blacklisting reports

However, the Pakistan Finance Ministry on Friday categorically rejected media reports about Pakistan being blacklisted by the Asia-Pacific Group, the regional affiliate of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), reports APP. The ministry termed these reports as incorrect and baseless. “Media reports being circulated about Pakistan being blacklisted by APG are incorrect and baseless,” the Finance Ministry said.

Compliance report

Pakistan had submitted a compliance report on its 27-point action plan to the FATF — the global watchdog for terror financing and money laundering — as three separate evaluations would determine the country’s possible exit from the grey list by October.

The Asia-Pacific Group was conducting its five-year evaluation of Pakistan’s progress on upgrading its systems in all areas of financial and insurance services and sectors.

These areas cover safeguards against money laundering and terror financing by banned outfits and non-government entities through banking and non-banking jurisdictions, capital markets, corporate and non-corporate sectors like chartered accountancy, financial advisory services, cost and management accountancy firm, jewellers and similar related services.

What the assessment report means to Pakistan

The APG’s assessment report can indirectly impact Pakistan’s position to move out of the grey list.

The assessments, represented from Pakistan by State Bank of Pakistan Governor Baqir Reza, concluded on Friday.

The Pakistani delegation had presented its 26-page report before the intergovernmental organisation regarding the measures which had been taken to prevent money laundering, terror financing and other recommendations. The report was collectively prepared by five institutions.

The delegation comprised representatives of the National Counter Terrorism Authority, the Federal Board of Revenue, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, the Federal Investigation Agency and the Financial Monitoring Unit.
What next?

The APG meeting will be followed by another round of mutual evaluations starting September 5 in Bangkok (Thailand), which would become a key basis for final review of Pakistan by the FATF at its plenary and working group meetings scheduled for October 13-18 in Paris.

Over 520 senior delegates from 46 jurisdictions and 13 international organisations came together in Canberra, Australia during the week of August 18-23 to convene the APG’s 22nd annual meeting and annual technical assistance forum.

The event was chaired by Deputy Commissioner Leanne Close of the Australian Federal Police and Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan, head of the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit.

What is FATF?

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989. The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
Pakistan and FATF

Pakistan has been on the FATF Grey List since June 2018, and they were given a 27-point action plan which they have to implement by September 2019. The enhanced black list puts additional pressure on the country.