Mauritius exits FATF grey list, three added amid Malta update

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Mauritius exits FATF grey list, three added amid Malta update

Mauritius and Botswana both made "significant progress" in addressing the strategic AML/CFT deficiencies included in FATF's respective action plans and will no longer face increased monitoring, the influential global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog said in a statement on 21 October.

The announcement followed the fifth Plenary of the Financial Action Task Force under the German Presidency of Marcus Pleyer which took place on 19-21 October.

"This comes after both countries received an on-site visit, despite the COVID-19 crisis. Botswana and Mauritius will work with ESAAMLG of which both countries are a member, to continue to strengthen their AML/CFT regime", FATF said.

This is a proud moment for our country considering the economic impact suffered by Mauritius whilst on the grey list."

Mauritus Finance tweeted that "we were confident of such an outcome given the exemplary collaboration among all the parties; Government, the regulatory bodies and the operators of the financial services sector, and that since the beginning of 2020".

And in one of the many reactions from Mauritius businesses, Rubina Toorawa, Head of Sanne, Mauritius, said: "This is a proud moment for our country considering the economic impact suffered by Mauritius whilst on the grey list.

Over the last 18 months, MIFC has demonstrated its commitment, resilience, agility and ability to work in concerted efforts, coordinating key reforms to cure strategic AML/CFT deficiencies. It is time to congratulate all stakeholders including the business community in Mauritius involved in the process.

We now seek to further pursue in promoting our IFC with a compelling value proposition and an innovative and diverse toolbox of financial products and services towards long-term sustainable growth. Our focus remains on maintaining our competitive edge against a robust legal and compliance framework providing investors with added comfort and confidence in using Mauritius as a leading hub for their investments."

However the three new jurisdictions subject to increased monitoring were Jordan, Mali and Turkey.

When the FATF places a jurisdiction under increased monitoring, it means the country has committed to resolve swiftly the identified strategic deficiencies within agreed timeframes and is subject to extra checks.

"Serious issues remain" in Turkey's controls over financial operations, Pleyer said at a press conference.

The body placed Turkey on its grey list of countries under increased monitoring due to strategic deficiencies in their regimes to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

Pleyer said the Turkish government made a commitment to continue its efforts to improve its anti-money laundering system.

"I urge them to turn this commitment into action," he added.

Nevertheless, the FATF recognised that Turkey had made progress in a number of areas, including laying out a national strategy to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism and increased seizures of cash being smuggled across.

Meanwhile, Times of Malta reported that Malta has made "good progress" in implementing an action plan to see it removed from the FATF's grey list.

In the press conference, Pleyer said since Malta's grey-listing in June, more intelligence had been disseminated to police about potential tax crimes, leading to more tax investigations.

Pleyer said dissuasive fines had also been issued for the filing of incorrect company ownership details with the Malta business registry.

But he also cautioned that more work remains, as none of the points on Malta's action plan had been largely addressed in the short time since the country's grey listing.