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Sri Lanka taken off world terror finance watch list

Sri Lanka taken off world terror finance watch list

Sri Lanka has been removed from the “Grey List” of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on money laundering, the FATF announced last week. According to the outcome of the FATF Plenary held on October 16-18 in France, Sri Lanka now has become a country that is no longer subjected to the monitoring of the top international terror finance watchdog.

FATF has stated that Sri Lanka “has made significant progress” in overcoming deficiencies in its strategic anti-money laundering action and in countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) – deficiencies identified earlier by FATF.

Accordingly, Sri Lanka “will no longer be subject to the FATF’s monitoring under its on-going global anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) compliance process,” and will work with the FATF-Style Regional Body to continue to strengthen the AML/CFT regimes, the FATF assessment states.

Referring to Sri Lanka’s removal from their Grey List, FATF has further stated, “The FATF welcomes Sri Lanka’s significant progress in improving its AML/CFT regime and notes that Sri Lanka has strengthened the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime and addressed related technical deficiencies to meet the commitments in its action plan regarding the strategic deficiencies that the FATF identified in November 2017.

Sri Lanka is therefore no longer subject to the FATF’s monitoring process under its ongoing global AML/CFT compliance process. Sri Lanka will continue to work with APG to improve further its AML/CFT regime.”

Among the countries which have been removed from FATF’s monitoring are Ethiopia and Tunisia as well.

Commenting on the three countries, FATF has pointed out, “As part of its ongoing review of compliance with the AML/CFT standards, the FATF identifies the following jurisdictions that have strategic AML/CFT deficiencies for which they have developed an action plan with the FATF. While the situations differ among each jurisdiction, each jurisdiction has provided a written high-level political commitment to address the identified deficiencies. The FATF welcomes these commitments.”

FATF President Xiangmin Liu of China chaired the meeting in Paris last week.

During this three-day meeting, over 800 delegates representing 205 countries, jurisdictions and international organizations discussed issues including identifying jurisdictions with strategic anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism deficiencies, money laundering risk from “stablecoins” and other emerging assets, mutual evaluations and follow ups of selected countries, new work on combating the laundering of proceeds of illegal wildlife trade and on promoting and facilitating more effective supervision at national levels, FATF said.

Meanwhile, the Financial Intelligence Unit of Central Bank of Sri Lanka recently entered into an agreement with Interpol National Central Bureau of Sri Lanka to obtain direct access to the Interpol Information System. The agreement would enable Sri Lanka to gather intelligence and information which is vital for prevention, detection and prosecution of money laundering, terrorist financing and related financial crimes and offenses. Central Bank of Sri Lanka in its official website has observed that, “The FIU has already entered into Memoranda of Understanding with 39 foreign counterparts as well as 10 domestic agencies, namely, Sri Lanka Customs, Department of Immigration and Emigration, Department of Inland Revenue, Department for Registration of Persons, Sri Lanka Police, Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka, Insurance Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka, Department of Motor Traffic, Condominium Management Authority and National Gem and Jewellery Authority in order to share information to strengthen the AML/CFT framework of the country.”