Industry News

FATF Revises Recommendations

Thursday February 16th, 2012

Category: International Issues, Industry Information

The OECD has published a release following a Media Briefing today, noting that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has stepped up the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Effectively, the FATF has revised the Recommendations after more than two years of efforts by member countries. The Recommendations are used by more than 180 governments to combat these crimes. The revisions, made with inputs from governments, the private sector, and civil society, provide authorities with a stronger framework to act against criminals and address new threats to the international financial system.

The cost of money laundering and underlying serious crime is very large, estimated between 2 and 5% of global GDP. The revision will enable national authorities to take more effective action against money laundering and terrorist financing at all levels - from the identification of bank customers opening an account through to investigation, prosecution and forfeiture of assets. At the global level, the FATF will also monitor and take action to promote implementation of the standards.

The revised FATF Recommendations now fully integrate counter-terrorist financing measures with anti-money laundering controls, introduce new measures to counter the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and they will better address the laundering of the proceeds of corruption and tax crimes. They also strengthen the requirements for higher risk situations and allow countries to take a more targeted risk-based approach. Giancarlo Del Bufalo, the President of the FATF, said: “Adoption of the revised Recommendations demonstrates countries’ shared commitment to fight money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The revised Recommendations include requirements for stronger safeguards in the financial sector, strengthened law enforcement tools and improved international cooperation.”

The main changes are:

• Combating the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction through the consistent implementation of targeted financial sanctions when these are called for by the UN Security Council.

• Improved transparency to make it harder for criminals and terrorists to conceal their identities or hide their assets behind legal persons and arrangements.

• Stronger requirements when dealing with politically exposed persons (PEPs).

• Expanding the scope of money laundering predicate offences by including tax crimes.

• An enhanced risk-based approach which enables countries and the private sector to apply their resources more efficiently by focusing on higher risk areas.

• More effective international cooperation including exchange of information between relevant authorities, conduct of joint investigations, and tracing, freezing and confiscation of illegal assets.

• Better operational tools and a wider range of techniques and powers, both for the financial intelligence units, and for law enforcement to investigate and prosecute money laundering and terrorist financing.

Consultative Process

The revision of the FATF Recommendations has involved the FATF’s members and all the FATF Style Regional Bodies. It also involved extensive consultation with the private sector and civil society through both a public consultation and ongoing dialogue with the FATF’s Private Sector Consultative Forum.