By: Global Witness
Contact: Anthea Lawson +44(20) 7492 5882 or +44(0)7872 620855.
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An international financial crime watchdog has named and shamed countries that are failing to stop dirty money entering the financial system, a move welcomed by Global Witness. However, conspicuously absent are major financial centres and secrecy jurisdictions, many of which also have serious weaknesses in their anti-money laundering regulations.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the intergovernmental group that sets the global anti-money laundering standard, has issued a list of countries which are failing to do enough to crack down on financial crime. The 28 countries include Iran, Greece and Turkey.
"This list is a welcome move by the FATF and will put significant pressure on the named countries to take money laundering seriously," said Anthea Lawson, a campaigner with Global Witness. "However, the rich countries at the heart of the FATF need to get their own house in order and ensure that they too are meeting its standards".
The task force has reverted to type by focusing mostly on poorer countries, while ignoring the substantial loopholes in the anti-money laundering systems of many rich jurisdictions. No countries have fully met the FATF standard, not even the United States, which has led the global campaign against dirty money.
Global Witness has exposed how banks, including Barclays, Citibank, HSBC, and Bank of America, have been able to do business with corrupt regimes, facilitating corruption and denying some of the world's poorest people a way out of poverty. A recent report by a U.S. Senate committee detailed how foreign officials and their family members exploited holes in the anti-money laundering framework to bring millions of illicit dollars into the U.S.
The list is based on the latest round of peer reviews carried by the FATF and its regional bodies. The reviews measured whether countries had laws on the books, rather than whether those laws are actually being implemented and enforced effectively. This should be the next stage of the FATF's reviewing and blacklisting process.
Note to editors: The FATF has named 8 countries as not having sufficient money laundering regulations in place: Iran, Angola, North Korea, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Sao Tomé and Principe. The FATF criticised the following 20 countries for deficiencies in their anti-money laundering regime, while recognising that they had high level political commitment to improve: Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Greece, Indonesia, Kenya, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Paraguay, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Yemen.