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Pakistan tense over FATF team visit on counter-terror steps

NEW DELHI: Pakistan faces a tough task as Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that grey listed the country in June is visiting Islamabad on a 12-day mission since Monday to verify its counter-terror measures.

A nine-member team of the Asia/Pacific Group (APG) of FATF on Monday held question-answer sessions with three Pakistani agencies — Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) and Anti-Narcotics — on five of the 10-point action plan on first day of the 12-day deliberations, ET has learnt.

The delegation questioned the Pakistani officials on how and which terror financing risks had been identified and assessed and supervision was applied to risks, and how law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are identifying and investigating terror financing activities. Then group also questioned the effectiveness of prosecutions, cooperation of the judiciary, and sanctions on capacity and activity of the terror financing individuals and activities, sources informed.

The meeting also probed the effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions (supported by a comprehensive legal obligation) against all 1,267 and 1,373 designated terrorists and their agents. The purpose of this visit is to assess the effectiveness of Pakistan’s anti-money laundering/counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) Regime under FATF’s effectiveness methodology, sources informed.

The visiting team comprises Ian Collins of the UK’s New Scotland Yard, James Prussing the US Department of the Treasury, Ashraf Abdulla of Financial Intelligence Unit of Maldives, Boby Wahyu Hernawan of the Indonesian Ministry of Finance, Gong Jingyan of People’s Bank of China, and Mustafa Necmeddin Oztop of Turkish Ministry of Justice.

By the end of September next year, Pakistan has to comply with the 10-point action plan it committed with the FATF in June on combating terror financing and money laundering to get out of the grey list, or runs the risk of being downgraded into the black list.

All permanent members of the UN Security Council, which are also members of FATF, backed the decision to put Pakistan into the grey list. The APG, as part of the pre-site mutual evaluation, identified a series of deficiencies in Pakistan’s anti-money laundering/counterterror financing laws and mechanisms.

The placement on the ‘grey list’ could hurt Pakistan’s economy as well as its international standing. Being in the “grey list” means that accessing funds from international markets, for example, would become tougher for Islamabad.




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