IMF mission skeptic about money laundering

November 20,2018

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ISLAMABAD: Amid US President Donald Trump’s statement against Pakistan, the IMF mission has raised serious reservations about rampant incidents of money laundering occurring in the country indicating weaknesses in banking sector and its regulatory framework.

The IMF may place 27 action plan of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as part of benchmark criteria for providing possible bailout package to Pakistan’s struggling economy. Official sources told The News on Monday that the Asia Pacific Group, a regional body of FATF, has recently raised 670 reservations on Pakistan’s performance for combating money laundering and terror financing with the deadline of next month (December 15, 2018) for getting back written replies about the measures taken by Islamabad to remove such huge numbers of reservations.

Exactly at a time when the IMF mission is holding crucial parleys with Islamabad on possible bailout package of $6 billion, US President Donald Trump alleged Pakistan for not doing much for US so defended his administration stance to half assistance for Pakistan.

The sources said that the IMF mission would conclude its talks on Tuesday (today) as the IMF was expected to have communication with the press at the end of talks with possibility of issuing just a press statement instead of holding any press briefing.

Another thing that increased problems for Pakistani negotiating team with the visiting IMF mission was increasing episodes of money laundering and banking frauds that had raised serious questions about the capability and capacity of the banking sector and its regulator to comply with 27 action plan outlined by FATF.

Pakistan will have to undergo three main reviews for gauging its performance under FATF action plan as first review is expected to take place in first week of January 2019 at Paris, second in May 2019 and third in September 2019. In the meanwhile, the FATF can take its decision on the basis of outcome of performance of Islamabad on account of 27 action plans. There are three possible scenarios graduating from grey to green list, falling from grey to black list and third keeping Pakistan into grey list for another review.


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