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AG issues new advisory on FATF money-laundering blacklist

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Mark Pettingill has issued a new advisory on the risks in a number of countries from poor systems and controls to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Among the countries were Antigua and Barbuda, cited by the FATF as jurisdictions that are not “not making sufficient progress”. Details on the risks were provided by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in June, a statement yesterday from the Ministry said. Mr Pettingill stated that the advice is especially relevant to companies or entities that have or are considering any business relationships with the specified jurisdictions or persons in such countries. The Proceeds of Crime (Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing) Regulations 2008 (the Regulations) require AML/ATF regulated financial institutions and other relevant persons to have policies, procedures or systems in place to prevent money laundering or terrorist financing. Under the Regulations, relevant persons are also required, under certain specified situations and also in those situations which are deemed to present a higher risk of money laundering or terrorist financing, to apply enhanced customer due diligence measures and/or ongoing monitoring on a risk-sensitive basis. On 21 June 2013, the FATF issued a public statement drawing attention to serious deficiencies in Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Both countries were identified in previous FATF public statements but continue to raise concerns for the FATF by their continued failure to adequately address ongoing and substantial deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes. The FATF is “particularly and exceptionally concerned with Iran’s failure to address the risk of terrorist financing”. In addition, the FATF drew attention in the public statement to a separate list of countries with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies that have not demonstrated satisfactory and sufficient progress in addressing the deficiencies. It should be noted that these countries have, for the most part, taken some steps to strengthen their regimes. Those jurisdictions are: Ecuador, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Myanmar, Pakistan, São Tomé and Príncipe, Syria, Tanzania, Turkey, Vietnam and Yemen. Due to “satisfactory progress” made in implementing its FATF-agreed action plan, Nigeria is now included in the FATF document, "Improving Global AML/CFT Compliance: On-going Process”. And in a separate publication on the ongoing process to improve global AML/CFT compliance, the FATF once again highlighted a number of jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes and provides information on these deficiencies. These jurisdictions were previously identified by the FATF as working with the FATF and relevant regional bodies to address those deficiencies. However the FATF has now called for the expeditious implementation of their agreed action plans. The jurisdictions listed in this category are: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Cuba, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Sudan, Tajikistan, and Zimbabwe. In addition, at the June Plenary Algeria and Antigua and Barbuda were identified separately as ‘not making sufficient progress’ on their FATF agreed action plan. These jurisdictions were urged to take sufficient action to implement significant components of their action plans by October 2013, and were warned that failure to do so will result in the FATF taking further action regarding the risks arising from the deficiencies associated with these jurisdictions. Despite Antigua and Barbuda’s high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and CFATF to address its strategic AML/CFT deficiencies, the FATF said it is not yet satisfied that Antigua and Barbuda has made sufficient progress in implementing its action plan, and certain strategic deficiencies remain. Antigua and Barbuda should continue to work on implementing its action plan to address these deficiencies, including by continuing to improve the overall supervisory framework. The FATF encourages Antigua and Barbuda to address its remaining deficiencies and continue the process of implementing its action plan. It should be highlighted that since February 2013 Morocco and Tajikistan have taken steps towards improving their AML/CFT regimes, and have therefore been removed from the list of jurisdictions ‘not making sufficient progress’. Finally, the FATF welcomed the significant progress of Bolivia, Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand in improving their AML/CFT regimes. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global standard setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).

FATF concern: Despite Antigua and Barbuda’s high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and CFATF to address its strategic AML/CFT deficiencies, the FATF said it is not yet satisfied that the islands have made sufficient progress in implementing their action plan, and certain strategic deficiencies remain.