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Monday November 29, 2021

Pakistan continues to be on FATF's grey list

Pakistan has been on the FATF’s increased monitoring list since June 2018

By Web Desk
October 21, 2021
FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer addressing a post-plenary conference on October 21, 2021.. — YouTube
FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer addressing a post-plenary conference on October 21, 2021.. — YouTube

PARIS: Pakistan will continue to be on the  grey list or the increased monitoring list of the  Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the body's president, Dr Marcus Pleyer, announced Thursday.

The development came  during the president's post-plenary press conference.

The FATF has been holding a meeting in Paris since October 19 under the German presidency of Dr Marcus Pleyer, which concludes today, October 21. 

It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan has been on the FATF’s increased monitoring list since June 2018.

According to the president, Pakistan has two concurrent action plans with a total of 34 action plan items. "It has now addressed, or largely addressed 30 of the items," he said.

"It's most recent action plan from June this year which largely focused on money laundering deficiencies was issued after FATF's regional partner APG (Asian Pacific Group) identified a number of serious issues.

Overall, Pakistan is making "good progress" on the new action plan, he said, adding that of the 7 new items, four have been "addressed or largely addressed".

He said this includes showing that financial supervisors are conducting on-site and off-site checks on non-financial sector businesses and inacting legislative amendments to improve international cooperation.

Dr Pleyer also spoke of Pakistan's earlier action plan, dating back to June 2018, and which focuses on terrorist financing issues, "Pakistan is still assessed to have largely addressed 26 out of 27 items".

He said Pakistan still needs to demonstrate investigations and prosecutions are being pursued against the senior leadership of UN designated terror groups.

"I thank the Pakistani government for their continued strong commitment to this process."

The FATF held a meeting in Paris which began on October 19 and concludes today, October 21.

As per reports, the task force reviewed the Asia Pacific Group's report on Pakistan's compliance with the watchdog's prescribed action items.

It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan has been on the FATF’s increased monitoring list, known as the grey list, since June 2018.

On Wednesday, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Reza Baqir said that Pakistan has fulfilled 26 out of 27 conditions set by the FATF.

"Pakistan will soon come out of the grey list," he said.

Pakistan's next review to be held in February 2022

The Ministry of Finance issued a statement after the press conference and said: "The FATF has recognised considerable progress made by Pakistan on both the action plans." 

It underlined that with regard to the 2021 Action Plan, Pakistan has completed four of the seven action plan items. Pakistan has completed these four action plan items "much before the timelines prescribed by FATF", said the statement.

"Progress on remaining three action items is well underway and it is aimed to complete the three action items ahead of the timelines set by the FATF," the ministry said.

The action items that have been completed include amendments in the Mutual Legal Assistance Act, 2020, anti money laundering (AML)/ combating financing of terrorism (CFT) supervision of Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs), transparency of beneficial ownership information and implementation of Targeted Financial Sanctions for Proliferation Finance by DNFBPs.

The remaining action items in the 2021 Action Plan include investigation and prosecution of money laundering cases, confiscation of assets and UN listings.

"Regarding the 2018 Action Plan, Pakistan submitted a comprehensive progress report on the last remaining Action Plan item," the statement read.

Following the FATF president's remarks, the ministry said that FATF acknowledged Pakistan’s continued political commitment, which led to significant progress across a comprehensive CFT Action Plan and encouraged Pakistan to report further progress on investigation and prosecution.

"The plenary meeting decided to maintain the status quo with respect to Pakistan, for the time being," it said.

Considerable work has already been carried out on the remaining items of both action plans, the ministry said.

"FATF will undertake next review of Pakistan’s progress in February 2022," read the statement.

It added that Pakistan is fully committed to completing both its action plans in cooperation with FATF and its international partners.

"The high-level political commitment, which is driving its revamped AML/CFT regime, is widely recognised by the international community," the statement said.