US wanted Japan for FATF slot, India backed Beijing

NEW DELHI:With a decision to greylist Pakistan at the recent FATF (Financial Action Task Force) meeting, all eyes are now on the next plenary in June when it comes into action.


Smita Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 3

With a decision to greylist Pakistan at the recent FATF (Financial Action Task Force) meeting, all eyes are now on the next plenary in June when it comes into action.

Despite dissent by China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia and GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries at the ICRG (International Cooperation Review Group) round, the APG (Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering) plenary obtained consensus to put Pakistan under the monitoring and reporting programme for its failure to counter terror financing.

With lack of consensus at initial ICRG round in Paris, Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif tweeted prematurely that Pakistan had averted the listing process.

However, in the APG round, tables turned as China needed support for its FATF Vice-Presidency. Sources privy to discussions told The Tribune that Americans wanted to support Japan for the Vice-Presidency.

China had concerns as it faces procedural country evaluation along with Pakistan in 2019-20 by the global watchdog for its internal processes to counter terror financing when the Presidency would be with the US. But Indian officials negotiated with the Chinese assuring them of support in return for Beijing’s vote on the motion co-sponsored by the US, the UK, Germany and France against all-weather friend Pakistan. Eventually, China’s membership bid sailed through with a yes from all 37 members. 

Meanwhile, the motion to greylist Pakistan was opposed only by Turkey. Russia, which was not in favour of “premature punishment” for Pakistan, went with the consensus. However, Pakistan was not named in the Chairman’s summary note prepared by the Argentinian President that could be a cause for concern till next steps in June. The Tribune has learnt that initially the note named Pakistan. But following early media reports that created a buzz online on February 23 announcing Pakistan’s greylisting before the outcome document was released, the name was struck off. FATF proceedings are expected to be confidential.

Within a fortnight of the plenary conclusion, the FATF secretariat has to convey the formal decision to the affected country. Sources in Pakistan said Islamabad authorities are yet to receive the communication. Pakistan was on the greylist earlier from 2012 to 2015. For now, it maintains that it was already clamping down on UN-proscribed organisations and individuals like Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawah, Falah-e-Insaniyat and Hafiz Saeed against whom presentations were made in Paris. Pakistan faces general election this year and is likely to have a caretaker government in place by June.

We remain hopeful that China would uphold and support the objectives and standards of FATF in a balanced, objective, impartial and holistic way. —Raveesh Kumar, MEA Spokesperson 


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