Saudi Arabia, UAE likely to back Pakistan at FATF moot


Shafaqna Pakistan:Pakistan has sent its last progress report along with supplementary documents to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), hoping that with the backing of Saudi Arabia and UAE in the next review it would avoid being blacklisted by the global finance watchdog and also be taken off its grey list.

At the FATF Asia-Pacific Group meeting starting from January 21 in Beijing, Pakistan will inform the global watchdog about amendments to its law to punish individuals involved in terror financing.

The review on the implementation of the FATF Action Plan will take place in Paris next month, where Pakistan will try to have its name removed from the grey list of the global body.

Finance Ministry officials told The Express Tribune that two more countries were likely to support Pakistan this time.

Besides Turkey, Malaysia and China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are also expected to back Pakistan’s removal from the list.

In its report, the government has responded to the questionnaire received from the FATF Asia-Pacific Group and also informed the global body about the progress on its recommendations.

The FATF has been informed that Pakistan had made progress in amending its Legal Mutual Assistance law to become a member of both the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Egmont Group.

The standing committee on finance has also approved amendments to law for curbing money laundering and terror financing. As per the amendments, a person convicted on charges of money laundering would serve at least one year in prison and pay a minimum fine of Rs5 million.

In line with the FATF Asia-Pacific Group’s recommendations, a person found guilty of illegally transferring money to Saudi Arabia will be sentenced to 10 years in prison and would be slapped with a fine of five million riyals.

The fine for laundering money to Singapore will be $0.5 million.
The draft of the National Savings Scheme Rules 2019 has been prepared. The rules will apply to all offices and individuals responsible for the issuance, management, marketing, registration, replacement, sale and discharge of instruments issued by and the accounts opened at and maintained with the National Savings Centres, the Pakistan Post and any other office designated as offices of issue.

The rules will ensure that officials undertake due diligence of National Savings Schemes customers to curb money laundering and terror financing.

Mansoor Siddiqui, the director general of the Financial Monitoring Unit, recently told a parliamentary panel that Pakistan hoped to win a “largely-compliant” rating from the FATF on the implementation of its 27 action points, which might help the government get more time from the watchdog for full compliance.

The global finance watchdog had placed Pakistan on its grey list in June 2018.