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QUESTION

What is the Financial Action Task Force?

ANSWER

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering and headquartered in Paris . Since 2001, the function of the FATF was expanded and it now includes acting on terrorism financing as the organisation monitors countries' progress in implementing the FATF Recommendations by ‘peer reviews’ (‘mutual evaluations’) of member countries. As of 2015, FATF consists of thirty-four member jurisdictions and two regional organisations, the EU and the Gulf Co-operation Council. The FATF also works in close co-operation with a number of international and regional bodies involved in combating money laundering and terrorism financing.

The Forty Recommendation and Special Recommendations on Terrorism Financing that was introduced by the organisation, set the international standard for anti-money laundering measures and combating the financing of terrorism and terrorist acts. Countries that are weak in their AML/CTF implementation are called upon publicly by the FATF Plenary to make the necessary progress. This list of countries are referred to as "Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories" (NCCTs), commonly called the FATF Blacklist, who FATF members believe are uncooperative with other jurisdictions in international efforts against money laundering and terrorism financing.

The effect of the FATF Blacklist has been significant, and arguably has proven more important in international efforts against money laundering than has the FATF Recommendations, as a jurisdiction placed on the FATF Blacklist often finds itself under intense financial pressure to step up on their progress, despite the lack of formal sanction imposed.

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