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FATF’s June 2023 Plenary: Key Highlights and Takeaways on AML/CFT Measures, Grey List Additions, and More

Money LaunderingFATF's June 2023 Plenary: Key Highlights and Takeaways on AML/CFT Measures, Grey List Additions, and More

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) held its third plenary meeting under the Singapore Presidency in June 2023. The discussions during the meeting covered various key areas, including anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing (AML/CFT) measures in Luxembourg, additions to the FATF grey list, progress in high-risk jurisdictions, compliance with virtual asset requirements, and efforts to prevent nonprofits from being used for terrorist financing.

Here are the key takeaways from the FATF’s June 2023 plenary:

  1. Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) for Luxembourg: The MER for Luxembourg found that the country’s technical compliance with FATF requirements had reached a high level, and its AML/CFT program was delivering good results. Luxembourg was commended for its coordination at both policy and operational levels, especially in the use of financial intelligence, access to beneficial ownership information, and international cooperation. However, the FATF recommended that Luxembourg focus on risk-based supervision of the non-financial sector and strengthening the detection and prosecution of complex money laundering and terrorist financing cases. The MER for Luxembourg will be published by September 2023.
  2. Grey List Additions: Cameroon, Croatia, and Vietnam were added to the FATF grey list due to identified deficiencies in their AML/CFT systems. These countries have agreed to implement action plans to address these weaknesses. Onsite visits will be conducted to Albania, the Cayman Islands, Jordan, and Panama, which have completed their action plans, to determine their progress. The FATF will decide in the October 2023 plenary whether these countries qualify for removal from the grey list.
  3. Virtual Asset Sector Compliance: The FATF expressed concern about the slow implementation of its virtual asset requirements. The travel rule, which requires virtual asset service providers (VASPs) to include originator and beneficiary information in transactions, has been a focus. Over 50% of surveyed countries have not implemented the rule, creating significant loopholes for criminals. The FATF called on countries to apply AML/CFT rules to virtual assets without delay. The FATF plans to publicly identify jurisdictions that have or have not implemented regulations in the virtual asset sector and work with the private sector to monitor risks and challenges.
  4. Revisions to Nonprofit Sector Guidance: The FATF is working to update its guidance on preventing terrorist financing through the nonprofit sector. The goal is to provide greater clarity and guidance to avoid the incorrect application of FATF standards while protecting the sector from abuse for terrorist financing.

Compliance professionals should stay informed about the outcomes of the FATF’s plenary meetings, especially regarding upcoming Mutual Evaluation Reports (MERs) in countries where they operate and any forthcoming guidance issued by the FATF. The next FATF plenary is scheduled for October 2023.

By FCCT Editorial Team

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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