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Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

Topics Covered:

  1. Indian and its neighbourhood.
  2. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: FATF, Grey list, G7.
  • For Mains: What is Grey list and Black list, how are countries in the list affected?

 

Context: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided to keep Pakistan on its grey list at the end of its week-long plenary meeting in Paris. India had lobbied hard to get the global financial body to blacklist Pakistan for non-compliance in curbing terror financing.

 

Background:

India wanted Pakistan to be put under “closer scrutiny immediately” and has demanded that “stronger implementation” be sought from Islamabad in curbing terror financing. India had even prepared a dossier for the watchdog nailing the culpability of Pakistan in the Pulwama terror strike, the worst such attack in J&K in decades.

 

Background:

Pakistan was placed on the grey list by the FATF in June for failing to curb anti-terror financing. It has been scrambling in recent months to avoid being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations by the Paris-based FATF, a measure that officials here fear could further hurt its economy.

 

Implications of this move:

  • Pakistani analysts say being put on the FATF watchlist could deal a blow to Pakistan’s economy, making it harder for foreign investors and companies to do business in the country.
  • It would be counterproductive to put Pakistan on the watch list as it would hurt its capability to fight terrorism. Also, being put back on the grey list would heighten Pakistan’s risk profile and some financial institutions would be wary of transacting with Pakistani banks and counterparties.
  • Being placed on the FATF watchlist carries no direct legal implications but brings extra scrutiny from regulators and financial institutions that can chill trade and investment and increase transaction costs.

 

About FATF:

What is it? The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.  It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas. The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.

Objectives: 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.

Functions: The FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally.  In collaboration with other international stakeholders, the FATF works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse.

 

What is blacklist and grey list?

FATF maintains two different lists of countries: those that have deficiencies in their AML/CTF regimes, but they commit to an action plan to address these loopholes, and those that do not end up doing enough. The former is commonly known as grey list and latter as blacklist.

Once a country is blacklisted, FATF calls on other countries to apply enhanced due diligence and counter measures, increasing the cost of doing business with the country and in some cases severing it altogether. As of now there are only two countries in the blacklist — Iran and North Korea — and seven on the grey list, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria and Yemen.

 

Sources: the hindu.

Mains Question: What is the mandate and objectives of Financial Action Task Force? Discuss its importance for India – Pakistan relations.