June 16-21: FATF meetings in Orlando to take decision

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VIAALI HUSSAIN & ZAHEER ABBASI
SOURCEBusiness Recorder
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The FATF Plenary and Working Group meetings in Orlando scheduled for June 16-21 would decide whether to remove Pakistan from the grey-list or downgrade it to blacklist on the basis of the assessment report of Asia Pacific Group (APG). Pakistan presented its case along with actions taken during the last two months in compliance with FATF during Asia Pacific-Joint Group face-to-face meeting in Guangzhou, China, from May 15-16.

The assessment report of APG group based on Pakistan’s presentation would now be taken up in the Plenary and Working Group meeting at Orlando, Florida. “Pakistan has taken enough steps with regard to money laundering and combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) in compliance with the FATA requirements to be removed from the grey list,” an official said.

Also Read: Pakistan needs diplomatic push to exit FATF grey list

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The official further told Business Recorder that as the critical stage has arrived a decision has been taken to launch aggressive diplomatic efforts with member states to get a favourable vote and to counter Indian lobbying to downgrade Pakistan in the FATF. He claimed that there was informal acknowledgment in the APG meeting in China that Pakistan has made sufficient progress on the FATF Action Plan. The official said that India was still co-chairing the APG meeting despite Pakistan’s reservations and demands for replacement.

Sources said that sufficient actions have been taken by Pakistan during the past few weeks including setting up of a Directorate of Cross Border Currency Movement (CBCM) in Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to foil foreign currency money laundering. The directorate will share daily report with the agencies tasked to counter money laundering. The directorate will refer suspicious transactions to the relevant department for action.

Additionally, the AML Amendment Bill 2019 has been introduced in Parliament envisaging punitive punishment to those involved in money laundering and a ban was recently imposed on various organizations, sources further stated. A meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday to review progress on the FATF Action Plan.

C/A down by 27 percent to $11.5 billion in July-April

A 10-member delegation attended APG meeting to present Pakistan’s compliance report on Action Plan on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT). Pakistani delegation comprised of Mohammad Younus Dagha, Secretary Finance, Mansoor Hassan Siddiqui, Director General Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU), Muneb Zia, legal advisor, FMU, Muhammad Iqbal, Director General, (CT) NACTA, Syed Irfan Ali, Executive Director State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Ahmad Farooq, Director General (CT) Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chaudhry Muhammad Javaid, Chief (l&l Customs) Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Sikandar Hayat, Joint Secretary (Law) Ministry of Interior, Khalida Habib, Executive Director Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), and Mazhar-ul-Haq Kakakhel, Director Federal Investigation Agency (FlA) attended the APG Joint Group face-to-face meeting in China to defend Pakistan’s case.

(This news/article originally appeared in Business Recorder on May 22nd, 2019)

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