Finance ministry rejects Indian media reports of FATF blacklisting Pakistan – Pakistan

The Ministry of Finance rejected reports from the Indian media that Pakistan is blacklisted by the Asia-Pacific Group (APG), the regional affiliate of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

In the press release issued, the ministry said the media reports on Pakistan's blacklisting were "incorrect and unfounded."

Indian media reported Friday that Pakistan had been blacklisted; however, no source has been mentioned by the media.

The ministry said that during the APG meeting, the group had adopted the third mutual evaluation of Pakistan
Report (MER) and had put Pakistan on its enhanced follow-up according to the Mutual Evaluation Procedures of the Third Round of APG.

"In line with the Mutual Evaluation Procedures of the Third Round of APG, Pakistan should submit follow-up progress reports to APG quarterly," the press release added.

In response to & # 39; s Inquiries about the media reports, Alexandra Wijmenga-Daniel, FATF communications management advisor, said that the decision to put the name of a country on the blacklist can only be taken by the global control body and not by its regional affiliates

"At each plenary meeting, the FATF discusses and updates its two public documents that identify jurisdictions that may pose a risk to the international financial system. The decision to make modifications to these documents (including blacklisting or deletion) rests solely with the FATF Plenary. " She explained.

She said that the APG, at its plenary meeting in Canberra, had "assessed the effectiveness of Pakistan's measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and discussed the findings."

"At the FATF Plenary in October 2019, the FATF will examine Pakistan's progress in its existing action plan and consider the next steps," Wijmenga added. Until then, he said, the FATF statement issued in June this year "remains up to date."

"As with all mutual evaluation reports, Pakistan's mutual evaluation must now undergo a quality and consistency review before it can be published," he said.

According to a statement issued by the APG today, the annual meeting of the agency and the annual technical assistance forum were held this week from August 18 to 23. APG members adopted six important mutual evaluation reports for Pakistan, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, the Philippines and the Solomon Islands.

The statement, however, did not mention the placement of Pakistan or any other country on the blacklist.

The statement added that the reports were analyzed and discussed for two days and would be subject to a post-plenary quality and consistency review before being published in early October.

"The APG also adopted a series of follow-up reports for APG members and joint APG / FATF members and also agreed to the revised evaluation procedures for next year that reflect recent changes in global procedures."

In addition, APG members adopted a CFT Operational Plan as part of a global strategy to address concerns related to terrorist financing.

"As part of this plan, the plenary agreed to undertake a typology and implementation project that examines the financing and facilitation of foreign combatants and returnees."

Two typology reports were also discussed and adopted.

The Ministry of Finance said Wednesday that the APG meeting on money laundering adopted Pakistan's third MER on strengthening the safeguards against money laundering and the fight against terrorism (AML / CFT) that covered the period between February and October 2018. A high-level delegation from Pakistan, led by the State Bank governor, Dr. Reza Baqir, attended the meeting.

Read: Another cross obstacle as the FATF meetings are coming

The ministry said the third MER adopted by the APG meeting identified a number of areas where more actions were required to strengthen the AML / CFT framework. The report does not cover the areas in which Pakistan has made substantial progress since October 2018.

An official explained that this mainly meant that the APG had carried out an evaluation of Pakistan's AML / CFT regime and developed an opinion on where Pakistan was in reference to the FATF standards in October 2018. It is important to note that progress that Pakistan made since October 2018 has not been considered in this report due to APG rules based on almost 40 special standards and benchmarks to determine the classification of a country in money laundering and eight special recommendations on terrorist financing.

Therefore, the APG assessment of Pakistan's third MER may not really reflect Pakistan's existing land realities that will be reviewed at the September 5 meeting in Bangkok and finally in Paris from October 18 to 23 to determine If Islamabad has fulfilled its 27 point action plan committed to the FATF to exit the gray list.

The Pakistan delegation had begun bilateral meetings with key APG members until the end of the current meetings on August 23 (today) to inform them of Pakistan's recent progress in the implementation of the FATF action plan. Earlier, an official told him Sunrise that the APG and many of its members appreciated the legislation that was being developed, the improved rules and the measures taken against the prohibited equipment and the review in the risk assessments of all the corporate and non-corporate manuals, entities and teams.

Pakistan has been a member of the APG since 2000. APG is a regional United Nations FATF agency based in Paris and requires its members to undergo a mutual assessment of compliance with its AML / CFT framework with the FATF recommendations.

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