Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 21
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Thursday kept Pakistan on the grey list as it “needs to further demonstrate that investigation and prosecution of proscribed terrorists and terror groups is being seriously pursued," said FATF chief Marcus Pleyer at the end the global finance watchdog’s deliberations that began on Sunday.
“On the action plan from 2019, we require Pakistan to demon that terrorist financing investigators are targeting UN proscribed senior leaders and commanders,’’ said Pleyer but discounted any possibility of moving it to the Black List.
“Pakistan has already completed 30 out of 34 action points. So this shows the clear commitment of Pakistan Government. So there was no discussion on blacklisting. The Government is cooperating with FATF and we urged it to very quickly address the remaining four items of as soon as possible,’’ he said.
Pleyer denied that it was pressure by India that led to Pakistan’s retention on the grey list. “FATF is a technical body and we take our decisions by consensus. It is not one country but 39 jurisdictions and the decision is taken by consensus on a jurisdiction to be put under increased monitoring,’’ answered Pleyer when asked whether it was India which is instrumental in keeping Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018.
In a further blow to Pakistan, Turkey, its closest ally in FATF, was also put on the Grey List along with Jordan and Mali.
Pakistan is estimated to have lost over $ 30 billion in foreign investments since it was it was grey listed. Till the meeting, FATF has 22 countries under “grey listing”, including Albania, Morocco, Syria, South Sudan and Yemen. It has removed two – Botswana and Mauritius – and added three – Mali, Jordan and Turkey – making it a total of 23 countries on the Grey List.
Since June, the FATF has been focusing on Pakistan’s money laundering deficiencies after the Asia Pacific Group found a number of serious issues. On terror financing, Pakistan had addressed all but one of the 27 action points.
The revelation of Pandora Papers has also led the FATF to recommend a sweeping number of changes in which anonymous shell companies are used by criminals and the corrupt. “The same money is often used to facilitate further crime. The Pandora Papers have put a spotlight on issue. The proposed changes in global ownership are to close loopholes and regulatory weakness for too long used as cover up for criminal activities and hide wealth. Investigators will now find who true owners are,’’ said the FATF chief.
In this respect, FATF has proposed amendments to Recommendation 24 on the transparency and beneficial ownership (BO) of legal persons.
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