London, Feb 18 2010
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