A global money laundering observer said Friday that it had added European Union member Malta to its “gray list” of countries under increased surveillance, and kept Pakistan on the list despite progress in tackling terrorist financing.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) also said that Haiti, the Philippines and South Sudan had been added to its gray list and that Ghana had been removed as the country progressed.
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The Maltese government had already indicated its inclusion in the list, which suggests shortcomings but has no legal implications, in a move that Prime Minister Robert Abella called “unfair”.
The FATF made the move after years of international criticism of Malta’s policy-making, including the sale of national passports, and the lack of legal action against government officials who said in Panama Papers that they had set up secret offshore companies.
“There remain serious weaknesses and areas of work that Malta has to address,” FATF President Marcus Pleyer told a news conference. “It is vital for Malta to ensure that there are systems in place that are strong enough to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.”
Pleyer said Pakistan remained under close scrutiny despite substantial progress on everything in an 2018 action plan, except for one last issue of investigating and prosecuting senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups.
He added that Pakistan continues to fail to enforce global standards against money laundering.
“This means that the risks of money laundering remain high, which in turn can fuel corruption and organized crime.”
The Anti-Money Laundering Council of the Philippines, chaired by the governor of the central bank, issued a statement on Saturday, outlining the country’s commitment to implement 18 FATF action points within the set timetable.
The Philippines passed a law in January to strengthen anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regulations.