By Dan Byrne for AMLi
MANY COUNTRIES who have signed up to FATF’s rigorous AML standards are not putting them into practice, the agency’s chief warned today.
FATF President Marcus Pleyer said “huge gap” has opened up between theory and practice, putting FATF member states at the mercy of their own shortcomings.
He called for a more robust leadership from nations and singled out the United States as a country whose leadership is “one of the most powerful tools.”
Speaking at a Financial Sector Innovation Policy Roundtable in the US, Dr Pleyer called on nations to take the strides they have made in AML frameworks and use them effectively.
He said that stronger nations like the United States should be a beacon to other jurisdictions trying to update their fight against financial crime.
“Overall, there is a huge gap between the FATF standards and the reality on the ground,” he told those in attendance. “That is why the US and other FATF members must lead by example.”
The roundtable discussion was also attended by newly appointed US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen.
The first woman to hold the position, Yellen took the job on the back of decades of experience in banking and finance – a major chunk of which was spent working with the American Federal Reserve.
At a confirmation hearing before Joe Biden’s inauguration last month, she stressed that combatting money laundering was a very high priority.
Separately, the United States has recently passed a major overhaul of AML rules within its latest Defence Act. One of the major developments attached to this overhaul is the introduction of a robust beneficial ownership registry.
There had been strong calls for this kind of registry for almost a decade, but it was regularly met with opposition from legal and finance professionals – commonly on privacy concerns.
Now, it is law – something which Pleyer has praised from a FATF perspective.
“I note the recent passing of legislation concerning beneficial ownership here in the States,” he said. “And also warmly welcome the Treasury Secretary’s commitment to making AML innovation a high priority.”
He took his praise a step further by calling US leadership “one of the most powerful tools in the fight against money laundering.”
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