Pakistan rejects Indian media reports of FATF blacklisting

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Web Report

Pakistan’s Ministry of Finance has rejected Indian media reports about Pakistan being blacklisted by the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) — the regional affiliate of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

In the press release issued, the ministry said that media reports about Pakistan being blacklisted were “incorrect and baseless”.

Indian media on Friday reported that Pakistan had been placed on the blacklist; however, no source has been mentioned by the outlets.

The ministry said that during the APG meeting, the group had adopted Pakistan’s 3rd Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) and had put Pakistan in its enhanced follow-up as per APG’s Third Round Mutual Evaluation Procedures.

“In line with APG’s Third Round Mutual Evaluation Procedures, Pakistan would be required to submit follow-up progress reports to APG on quarterly basis,” the press release added.

FATF Communications Management Advisor Alexandra Wijmenga-Daniel explained that the decision to place a country’s name on the blacklist can only be taken by the global watchdog and not its regional affiliates.

“At each Plenary meeting, the FATF discusses and updates its two public documents identifying jurisdictions that may pose a risk to the international financial system. The decision to make modifications to these documents (including blacklisting or removal) lies with the FATF Plenary only,” she explained.

She said that the APG, in its plenary meeting in Canberra, had “assessed the effectiveness of Pakistan’s measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and discussed the findings”.

“At the FATF Plenary in October 2019, the FATF will examine Pakistan’s progress on its existing action plan and consider any next steps,” Wijmenga added. Until then, she said, FATF’s statement issued in June this year “remains up-to-date”.

“As with all mutual evaluation reports, the mutual evaluation of Pakistan must now undergo a quality and consistency review before it can be published,” she said.

According to a statement issued by the APG today, the body’s annual meeting and annual technical assistance forum were held this week from August 18 till August 23. The APG members adopted six significant mutual evaluation reports for Pakistan, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, the Phillippines and the Solomon Islands.

The statement, however, did not mention Pakistan or any other country’s placement on the blacklist.

The statement added that reports were analysed and discussed for two days and would be subject to a post-plenary quality and consistency review before being published in early October.

“The APG also adopted a number of follow-up reports for APG members and for joint APG/FATF members and also agreed on revised evaluation procedures for the coming year reflecting recent changes to global procedures.”

Additionally, the APG members adopted a CFT Operational Plan as part of a global strategy to address the concerns related to terrorist financing.

“As part of this plan, the plenary agreed to undertake a typologies and implementation project examining the financing and facilitation of foreign fighters and returnees.”