01 May 2020

This article was written by Sam Aldous. 

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. FATF’s members and observers comprise over 200 countries and jurisdictions. As an inter-governmental body, FATF sets international standards and seeks to generate national legislative and regulatory reforms.

The FATF conducts peer reviews of each member on an ongoing basis to assess levels of implementation of the FATF Recommendations, providing an in-depth description and analysis of each country’s system for preventing criminal abuse of the financial system. In normal circumstances, the FATF spends periods onsite in the relevant member jurisdictions as part of the evaluation process.

Practical measures that countries have adopted in response to COVID-19, such as confinement and travel restrictions, are making it impossible for assessed jurisdictions and assessors alike to conduct on-site visits and in-person meetings.

In response to these difficulties, on 28 April the FATF announced that it has:

  • agreed to temporarily postpone all remaining FATF mutual evaluations and follow-up deadlines
  • decided on a general pause in the review process for the list of high-risk jurisdictions subject to a call for action and jurisdictions subject to increased monitoring, by granting jurisdictions an additional four months for deadlines.

The FATF statement confirms that, despite the decision to temporarily postpone the above-mentioned process deadlines due to the current situation, FATF’s work continues – and, indeed, FATF recently published a paper which identifies challenges, good practices and policy responses to new money laundering and terrorist financing threats and vulnerabilities arising from the COVID-19 crisis. See our update on that paper here. 

If you have any questions about the above, please contact Sam Aldous or your usual Burges Salmon contact.

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