Pakistan racing to meet FATF demands before June

Islamabad, PakistanUpdated: May 19, 2018, 06:10 PM IST
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A file photo of unidentified gunmen. Photograph:(Zee News Network)

Pakistan is giving finishing touches to its action plan that proposes measures for combating money laundering and terror financing to prevent itself from being placed on the grey list of a global watchdog next month, according to a media report.

A compliance report has been submitted by the Pakistani government to the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) - a sub-group within the Paris-based watchdog Financial Action Task Force - detailing the steps taken thus far and those that will be taken in the future to bring Pakistan's financial, regulatory and legal landscape into compliance with the watchdog's requirements, Dawn News reported.

On Friday, a meeting was convened at the Foreign Office to review the proposed actions which are to be discussed with APG joint working group in Bangkok next week.

This was the last in a series of meetings taking place within the government as officials race to meet the June deadline by when Pakistan will be placed on the FATF grey list.

A senior official in the finance ministry was quoted as saying in the report that a delegation from Pakistan would depart within the next few days for consultations with the APG's Joint Working Group in Bangkok.

That meeting will discuss the steps proposed by Pakistan to be taken after June to exit the grey list. The report has been drawn up by the Financial Monitoring Unit, a department housed in the State Bank of Pakistan, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.

The FATF earlier sent an email to the SBP highlighting its concerns over the amnesty scheme introduced by the government in its last budget.

The email points out that Pakistan is required to inform FATF before announcing any such scheme. To address their concerns, Pakistan included a provision to specify that 'proceeds of crime are not eligible' for the amnesty scheme.

The senior official confirmed that the placement of Pakistan on the grey list was set to commence in June. He said the action plan drawn up by the government would set conditions for Pakistan to meet in a period of one year, the report said.

None of those working on the matter were willing to discuss the details of the action plan.

"Whatever conditions are being finalised, we will implement it administratively," one source said.

The details of action plan remained under negotiation with the FATF and set to be finalised by next month, the official said.

Pakistan was listed as grey in 2012 but was removed in 2015 after strenuous efforts to address the concerns of the group.

The US spearheaded the latest efforts to place Pakistan on the Grey List and was supported by the UK, France and Germany.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was set up in 1989 with a primary aim to set standards to combat money laundering, but in 2001 its mandate was expanded to include countering terror financing.

It can take action against any country by including a country in black or grey lists.