SFO: Fourth former oil executive sentenced for paying bribes in post-occupation Iraq

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has announced that a former oil executive has been sentenced to three and a half years' imprisonment for conspiring with others to bribe Iraqi public officials to secure oil contracts in post-occupation Iraq. The individual - a former senior sales manager - was found guilty on two counts of conspiracy to give corrupt payments following a retrial of his case at Southwark Crown Court. The individual is the fourth to be convicted and sentenced in a series of related SFO investigations in connection with Unaoil. [1 Mar 2021]

SFO, FCA, CMA and other public authorities granted powers under Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021 has received Royal Assent. The Act amends the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and makes provision for Criminal Conduct Authorisation (CCA), which is an express power to authorise a covert human intelligence source (CHIS) to participate in conduct which would otherwise constitute a criminal offence. The SFO, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), among other public authorities, are able to authorise the use of a CHIS. The Act will come into force via the passing of regulations by the Government. [1 Mar 2021]

Supreme Court hands down judgment in SFO’s case concerning the extraterritoriality of section 2 powers – appeal of KBR is allowed

The Supreme Court has handed down judgment in the case of R (on the application of KBR, Inc) (Appellant) v Director of the Serious Fraud Office (Respondent) [2021] UKSC 2 concerning whether the SFO can require a foreign company to produce documents held overseas, pursuant to its investigation powers under section 2(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 (CJA). The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal, finding against the extraterritoriality that had been "read into" s2(3) by the High Court, and so confirming that the SFO did not possess the power to compel a foreign company to produce documents held outside the UK. Please read our briefing here. [5 Feb 2021]

OFSI: Introduction from new Director Giles Thomson

The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) has published a blog post by its new Director, Giles Thomson, in which he provides details on his background and the new expanded role he will be undertaking as Director of both OFSI and economic crime policy, which he hopes to use to build stronger links between sanctions and broader economic crime work. He also discusses his goals in the role, in both the short and longer term. [4 Feb 2021]

Home Office consultation on changes to bodies granted powers under POCA

The Home Office has published a consultation to obtain views on potential changes to the bodies granted certain investigatory powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA). The consultation seeks views on whether five public bodies - namely the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland, the London Fire Brigade, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), and the Service Police - should be granted access to the powers currently available to 'Accredited Financial Investigators' under POCA in relation to the following types of investigation:

  • confiscation investigations;
  • detained cash investigations;
  • detained property investigations;
  • frozen funds investigations; and
  • money laundering investigations.

Feedback is requested by 19 March 2021. [28 Jan 2021]

LSAG issues AML guidance for legal sector

The Legal Sector Affinity Group (LSAG) has published revised anti-money laundering (AML) guidance for the legal sector to reflect amendments made to the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLR 2017) – by the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019 and the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. [20 Jan 2021]

OFSI releases Quarterly TAFA 2010 reports

OFSI has published its quarterly reports for April to June 2020 and July to September 2020 on the exercise of its powers under Part 1 of the Terrorist Asset-Freezing Act 2020 (TAFA 2010). The reports also cover the UK’s implementation of the UN’s ISIL (Da-esh) and Al-Qaida asset freezing regime, and the operation of the EU’s asset freezing regime concerning external terrorist threats. [16 Dec 2020, 19 Jan 2021]

SFO closes investigation into listed British company

The SFO has announced that it has closed its investigation - originally announced in August 2017 - into a listed British company, concluding that the evidence in the case did not meet the evidential test for prosecution as set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. [15 Jan 2021]

EU Exit: JMLSG note on implications of end of transition period on its Guidance

The Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (JMLSG) has published a note on the implications of the end of the Brexit transition period on its Guidance. The Guidance currently contains some references based on the premise of the UK's membership of the EU (listed in the note) which are no longer appropriate and will be amended in due course. [15 Jan 2021]

SFO: Former senior executive pleads guilty to further bribery offences

The SFO has announced that the former Global Head of Sales at an oil and gas company has pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates' Court to three counts of bribery. The offences relate to corrupt offers and payments made between 2012 and 2018 to influence the award of contracts to the company in the United Arab Emirates worth approximately $3.3 billion. The individual pleaded guilty to an additional eleven charges of bribery in February 2019. The SFO’s investigation into the activities of the company, its officers, employees and agents for suspected bribery, corruption and money laundering continues. [14 Jan 2021]

Parliamentary vote to introduce failure to prevent economic crime offence in the Financial Services Bill abandoned, pending Law Commission review

On 13 January 2021, a cross-party group of Members of Parliament (MPs) tabled an amendment to the Financial Services Bill which, as drafted, would hold bodies “authorised or registered by the Financial Conduct Authority” liable for fraud, false accounting and money laundering offences committed by their employees. Ultimately, MPs declined to vote on the amendment, citing that any new clause would pre-empt the work of the Law Commission review into corporate criminal liability (see our short briefing here). We also previously reported the inconclusive findings of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Call for Evidence on the topic which it published in November 2020, and the commencement of the Law Commission’s work. [13 Jan 2021] 

Implementation of UK sanctions regime following end of Brexit transition period

Upon the end of the Brexit transition period at 11pm on 31 December 2020, the UK ceased to implement EU sanctions. UK sanctions are now in force under the UK’s domestic sanctions regime, the framework for which is contained in the Sanctions and Money Laundering Act 2018 (SAMLA). The UK has introduced regulations under SAMLA which implement UK versions of the EU sanctions regimes that were in force pre-Brexit, although the new UK sanctions are not identical to the EU sanctions in all respects. Given the non-identical nature of the UK and EU regimes, there is the potential for an increased compliance burden to be placed on companies which are required to comply with both sets of sanctions. Businesses which are subject to the new UK regime should therefore ensure that they understand how these sanctions apply to them, and the extent to which they may differ from the previous EU-derived regime. Please read our full briefing here. [11 Jan 2021]

Covid-19: FCA statement on firms’ financial crime systems and controls expired on 7 February 2021

The FCA has updated its webpage on firms' financial crime systems and controls during Covid-19 to announce that its statement, first published in May 2020, no longer applies from 7 February 2021. The statement, which is available on the webpage, covers issues such as operational challenges; client identity verification; the Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SMCR); the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS); and changes to regulatory reporting. [8 Jan 2021]

HMT/Home Office: ML/TF National Risk Assessment 2020

HM Treasury (HMT) and the Home Office have published – pursuant to the 2017 MLRs – the National Risk Assessment (NRA) of money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) for 2020, which sets out the key ML/TF risks for the UK; how these have changed since the previous NRA was published in 2017; and the action taken since 2017 to address these risks. In particular, the NRA finds that:

  • the traditional high-risk areas of money laundering – including financial services, money service businesses (MSBs), and cash – remain, but new methods continue to emerge within these, particularly in light of financial technology (FinTech) developments;
  • cash-based money laundering is still heavily characterised by the use of cash intensive businesses to disguise criminal sources of wealth, or by smuggling large amounts out of the UK, although an increase in the abuse of cash-related services has been noted;
  • recent regulatory changes through the transposition of the Fifth Money Laundering Directive (5 MLD) recognised the risk cryptocurrencies pose, as well as vulnerabilities in the art market and letting agency businesses;
  • professional services remain attractive to criminals as a means to create and operate corporate structures, invest and transfer funds to disguise their origin, and lend layers of legitimacy to their operations;
  • the UK’s terrorist financing threat continues to involve low levels of funds being raised by UK individuals for the purpose of lifestyle spending and low sophistication attacks; and
  • the UK Government's knowledge of ML/TF risks has improved since 2017.

Our recent webinar on AML - the last in our Annual Corporate Crime & Investigations (CC&I) Conference Series 2020 - is available here. [17 Dec 2020]

BEIS publishes three consultations on corporate transparency

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced wide ranging reforms to the powers and role of Companies House, to improve business transactions and tackle economic crime. It is now consulting on three detailed areas of the reform:

Feedback to all three consultations was requested by 3 February 2021. [9 Dec 2020]

NECC: Amber alert on illicit finance risks faced by independent schools

On behalf of the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) (and in conjunction with law enforcement and financial sector partners as part of the Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (JMLIT) and with the support of the Home Office, the Independent Schools Council (ISC), the Independent Schools Bursars Association (ISBA) and the OFSI) the National Crime Agency (NCA) has issued an amber alert on the money laundering risks that exist in the independent schools sector. The Alert is mainly aimed at assisting:

  • banks that provide financial services to the UK independent school sector and seek to ensure their products and services are not used to launder the proceeds of crime;
  • other supporting professions which may be best placed to identify activities of concern and proceeds of corruption; and
  • the independent school sector itself. [2 Dec 2020]

FCA charges individual with one offence of money laundering

Following a joint investigation by the FCA and City of London Police, the FCA has charged an individual with one offence of money laundering, contrary to Section 327 of POCA. The individual appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 26 January 2021. [25 Nov 2020]

FCA: Individual pleads not guilty to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice

The FCA has announced that an individual has pleaded not guilty at Southwark Crown Court to the FCA’s charge that he conspired with another individual to pervert the course of justice. The defendant was granted unconditional bail by His Honour Judge Hehir pending a trial listed to take place on 25 October 2021. The FCA alleges that the defendant conspired to pervert the course of justice by disguising the other individual’s interest in a property and its availability as an asset for the part satisfaction of any confiscation order made in separate proceedings brought by the FCA. The other individual is currently in the US awaiting sentence, having pleaded guilty to a separate fraud prosecuted by the US Department of Justice (DoJ). [25 Nov 2020]

High Court considers entitlement of investment firm to terminate Bitcoin trading account due to alleged money laundering concerns

The High Court has found in favour of a claimant investor in a dispute arising from the termination of her Bitcoin trading account with an online trading platform and concurrent cancellation of open trades, as a result of alleged money laundering risk: Ang v Reliantco Investments Ltd [2020] EWHC 3242 (Comm). Although the claim relates to an account used to trade Bitcoin futures, the decision will be of broader interest to financial institutions, given the potential application to other types of trading accounts and accounts more generally. Please read our full briefing here. [27 Nov 2020]  

SFO signs MoUs with CMA and FSCS

The SFO has signed separate Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and the CMA. The MoUs relate to:

  • between the SFO and FSCS, co-operation and co-ordination in order to facilitate the effective investigation and prosecution of serious or complex fraud and bribery and corruption offences; and
  • between the SFO and CMA, co-operation in order to investigate and/or prosecute individuals in respect of the criminal cartel offence – established by section 188 of the Enterprise Act 2002 – where serious or complex fraud is suspected, including price-fixing, limitation of production or supply, market-sharing and bid-rigging. [21 Oct, 19 Nov 2020]

NCA: SARs Annual Report 2020

The NCA has published its Annual Report on the Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) regime for 2020. The Report notes, among other things, that during the relevant period the UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU):

  • received and processed 573,085 SARs, representing a 20% increase on the previous period; and
  • received 62,408 requests for a defence against money laundering (DAML), representing an 81% increase on the previous period. [19 Nov 2020]

SFO secures £1.2 million following investigation into property linked to Brazilian bribery investigation

The SFO has secured nearly £1.2 million from the Brazilian owner of a £4.25m apartment in London, which the SFO suspected to have been partly purchased with the corrupt funds of its owner’s criminal conduct. The criminal conduct related to Brazil’s ‘Operation Car Wash’, which uncovered systematic bribery to win contracts from a Brazilian state oil company. The SFO originally intended to bring a civil recovery claim against the individual in respect of the property, having commenced a civil recovery investigation into the individual’s assets in June 2015, but has now agreed a settlement. A property freezing order (PFO) and Disclosure Order (DO) relating to the property will remain in place until the individual pays the settlement amount and the SFO’s costs. The SFO's investigation was undertaken with the assistance and cooperation of the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) and the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD). [13 Nov 2020]

Covid-19: FCA advises on managing financial crime in relation to Bounce Back Loan Scheme

In November 2020, the FCA updated its webpage on the CBILS and the new BBLS to include information on managing financial crime, following amendments made to the BBLS on 10 November 2020. The FCA states that:

  • it expects firms – when distributing top-up loans – to have assessed and addressed any specific flags that they become aware of at the time of, or after, the original loan issue. Flags could include any suggestion that a customer poses a higher risk of fraud, money laundering, or terrorist financing; and
  • for top-up loans and new loans, firms should consider the risk of fraud and specifically risks posed by new customers seeking access to the scheme. In such cases, firms should ensure that robust customer due diligence (CDD) processes are applied in accordance with requirements set out under the BBLS rules and the 2017 MLRs. [10 Nov 2020]

SFO confirms investigation into aerospace and transportation company

The SFO has confirmed that it is investigating an aerospace and transportation company over suspected bribery and corruption involving an Indonesian airline. [5 Nov 2020]

FCA prohibitions highlight increasing focus on non-financial misconduct 

On 3 November 2020, the FCA prohibited three individuals from working in the financial services industry following findings that they are not fit and proper. The three individuals were all approved persons at the time that they were convicted of serious non-financial indictable offences. An increase in focus on non-financial misconduct was included in our recent Top 10 Global Trends Regarding Investigations Involving Individuals: an increasing focus on non-financial misconduct. Please read our full briefing here. [3 Nov 2020]

FCA criminal prosecution for destruction of documents

The FCA has been unsuccessful in its attempted prosecution of a former banker for destroying documents relevant to an FCA investigation brought against him for suspected insider dealing offences. This marks the first time the FCA has exercised its powers in connection with a destruction of documents offence under section 177(3)(a) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). Despite the outcome, it illustrates the risks for firms and individuals in using messaging systems such as WhatsApp. Please read our briefing here. [28 Oct 2020]

Treasury Committee launches new economic crime inquiry

In October 2020, the Treasury Committee launched a new economic crime inquiry, focusing on the UK's AML systems and sanctions regime, and protecting consumers from fraud. In the previous Parliament, the Committee completed an inquiry which focused on the UK's AML systems and sanctions implementation system, as well as the impact of economic crime from a consumer perspective. The new inquiry, which will review what progress has been made in combatting economic crime, will have two strands:

  • AML systems and the sanctions regime, including the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) papers and the work of the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS); and
  • how consumers are affected by economic crime, including emerging trends as a result of Covid-19 and Authorised Push Payment (APP) Fraud.

The Committee will continue to examine economic crime related to the BBLS as part of its ongoing inquiry into the economic impact of Covid-19. The inquiry is ongoing and received oral and written evidence in January, February and March 2021. [23 Oct 2020]

UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery 2020

The UK Government has published its 2020 Annual Report on Modern Slavery, detailing the activity led and delivered by the Government since the last annual report published in Autumn 2019 under the following themes:

  • ‘pursue’, which relates to the prosecution and disruption of individuals and groups responsible for modern slavery. In June 2020, there were 1,845 active law enforcement investigations, compared with 1,479 in June 2019;
  • ‘prevent’, which relates to preventing people from engaging in modern slavery, either as victims or offenders;
  • ‘protect’, which relates to protecting vulnerable people from exploitation and increasing safeguards and resilience against modern slavery;
  • ‘victim identification and support’, which relates to reducing the harm caused by modern slavery through improved victim identification and enhanced support; and
  • ‘international response to modern slavery and upstream prevention’. [23 Oct 2020]

FCA updates webpage on MLRs and BAP

The FCA has updated its webpage on the MLR 2017 to advise that the Bank Account Portal (BAP) remains under development and firms are therefore not expected to comply with the parts of the MLR 2017 relating to the BAP. The FCA expects an update from HMT in early 2021. HMT also intends to give firms notice and opportunities for engagement ahead of a revised date for firms to comply with the provisions relating to the BAP. [21 Oct 2020]

NCA: Payment platform operator for cyber criminals arrested in UK and sentenced in US

The NCA has announced that an Iranian national who ran a financial services company designed to circumvent financial sanctions on Iran has been sentenced in the US after being arrested and extradited from the UK. The individual was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an online platform which helped Iranian nationals conduct prohibited transactions, such as the purchase of computer software and servers. The US DoJ press release is available here. [17 Oct 2020]

ICO publishes SEC data sharing guidance for UK companies

The ICO has published guidance, dated 11 September 2020, stating that it is permissible under UK data protection regulations for UK-based companies regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to share data with the SEC in certain circumstances when complying with regulatory obligations or during an investigation. [11 Sep 2020]

EU

EBA Opinion on ML/TF risks affecting EU financial sector

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published its biennial Opinion and accompanying report on the ML/TF risks affecting the EU's financial sector. In terms of cross-sectoral risks, the Opinion highlights risks regarding:

  • virtual currencies;
  • FinTech;
  • CFT systems and controls;
  • de-risking;
  • supervisory divergence;
  • crowdfunding platforms;
  • divergent approaches to tackling tax-related crimes; and
  • Covid-19.

The EBA also discussed the ML/TF risks in specific financial sectors, for example in relation to credit institutions, payment institutions, and life insurance undertakings. The Opinion sets out steps that national competent authorities (NCAs) can take to address the risks identified in the Opinion. The recommendations do not change or specify policies, but instead set out good practices and reiterate existing supervisory duties. The EBA has also published an interactive tool on the risks covered in the Opinion. [3 Mar 2021]

EBA issues final revised ML/TF risk factor guidelines

The EBA has issued final revised guidelines on simplified and enhanced customer due diligence and the factors credit and financial institutions should consider when assessing the ML/TF risks associated with individual business relationships and occasional transactions under Articles 17 and 18(4) of the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4AMLD). The deadline for national competent authorities (NCAs) to report whether they comply with the guidelines will be two months after the publication of the translations of the guidelines. The guidelines will apply three months after publication in all EU official languages. Upon the date of application, the original guidelines will be repealed and replaced with the revised guidelines. [1 Mar 2021]

European Commission Communication on the EU's economic and financial system

The European Commission has issued Communication setting out a new strategy intended to stimulate the openness, strength and resilience of the EU's economic and financial system. The proposed approach is based on three pillars, namely:

  • promoting a stronger international role of the euro;
  • developing, and improving the resilience of, EU financial market infrastructures (FMIs); and
  • promoting the uniform implementation and enforcement of EU sanctions.

The Commission will monitor the actions listed in its Communication on an ongoing basis, and will review the state of implementation results in 2023. A Questions and Answers (Q&A) webpage, a factsheet on the Capital Markets Union (CMU), a recording of the related press conference, and related remarks made by Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis have also been published. [19 Jan 2021]

EBA: Methodology for carrying out risk assessments under EBA Regulation

The EBA has published the methodology for carrying out risk assessments under Article 9a of the revised EBA Regulation, which sets out how the EBA will identify emerging ML/TF risks, and how it will carry out the risk assessments. Going forward, the EBA will use this methodology to assess whether the use of its powers under Article 9a is warranted. [17 Dec 2020]

EBA: Report on functioning of AML/CTF colleges

The EBA has published its first report on progress made by competent authorities with the setting up of colleges to enhance supervisory cooperation for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) purposes. The report provides examples of good and poor practices learnt from the first colleges, and highlights that there was a good level of interaction and willingness to share information through a mixture of presentations and round-table discussions within the colleges. [15 Dec 2020]

EBA: Opinion on strengthening connection between EU AML/CTF legal frameworks and deposit protection

The EBA has issued an Opinion on how to strengthen the connection between the EU legal frameworks on AML/CTF, and deposit protection. In the Opinion, the EBA assesses how information about potential ML/TF risks of depositors is identified and transmitted to deposit guarantee schemes (DGS) ahead of them repaying depositors, focusing in particular on cooperation between authorities and information sharing and cooperation mechanisms. Seven of the EBA's 11 proposals are addressed to the European Commission and are intended to inform its ongoing reviews of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD) and Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive (DGSD). The remaining four proposals are addressed to the national competent authorities (NCAs) in order to implement some changes already under the current legal framework and ahead of the potential future revisions of the AMLD and DGSD. The proposals outlined in this Opinion should be read alongside the related EBA Opinions published in August 2019 and October 2019, and the EBA Opinion on the future AML/CTF framework in the EU published in September 2020. [14 Dec 2020]

European Commission adopts new Delegated Regulation removing Mongolia from list of high-risk third countries under MLD4

The European Commission has adopted a Delegated Regulation that amends the list of high-risk third countries with strategic AML/CTF deficiencies under Article 9(2) of the Fourth Money Laundering Directive (4 MLD). The Delegated Regulation will amend the Annex to Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1675 to remove Mongolia from the list. [9 Dec 2020]

EU introduces global human rights sanctions regime

On 7 December 2020, the Council of the EU announced the introduction of a new global human rights sanctions regime, as part the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024. The new regime introduces a framework to impose a travel ban and asset freeze on individuals and entities identified as responsible for, involved in or associated with, serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide. Please read our briefing here. [7 Dec 2020]

EPC payment threats and fraud trends report 2020

On 7 December 2020, the European Payments Council (EPC) published its 2020 report on payment threats and fraud trends. The EPC reports annually on the latest trends in security threats impacting payments and outlines how these threats could generate payment fraud. The 2020 report provides an overview of the current most important threats in the payments landscape, including social engineering and phishing, malware, advanced persistent threats (APTs), (distributed) denial of service ((D)DoS), botnets and monetisation channels. [7 Dec 2020]

EBA: Opinion on how to take into account ML/TF risks in Supervisory Review and Evaluation Process

The EBA has published an Opinion on how prudential supervisors should take into ML/TF risks in the context of the Supervisory Review and Evaluation Process (SREP). The Opinion explains that the EBA expects prudential supervisors to particularly consider ML/TF risks in the following components of the SREP:

  • monitoring of key indicators;
  • business model analysis;
  • assessment of internal governance and institution-wide controls;
  • assessment of risks to capital; and
  • assessment of risks to liquidity and funding.

The EBA plans to publish the revised version of the SREP Guidelines by the end of December 2021. [4 Nov 2020]

EU Commission: Speech by Valdis Dombrovskis at ECOFIN press conference

The European Commission has published a speech given by its Executive Vice President, Valdis Dombrovskis, at the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) conference. Among other things, Mr Dombrovskis noted that Finance Ministers adopted conclusions on the Commission's AML Action Plan of May 2020. [4 Nov 2020]

European Commission: AML package legislative proposal expected in Q1 2020

The European Commission has published a Communication outlining its work programme for 2021. Among other things, the programme states that a legislative proposal for an AML package is expected in Q1 2021. [19 Oct 2020]

International Bodies

FATF launches public consultation on Guidance on Proliferation Financing Risk Assessment and Mitigation

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is developing Guidance to help both public and private sectors implement the new requirements to identify, assess, understand and mitigate proliferation financing risk, and is consulting private sector stakeholders before finalising the Guidance. Feedback is requested by 9 April 2021. [1 March 2021]

FATF: Executive Secretary speech at Chatham House Illicit Financial Flows Conference

FATF has released the speech delivered by Executive Secretary David Lewis at the Chatham House Illicit Financial Flows Conference, in which Mr Lewis focused on money laundering, and emphasised the importance of making clear the link between preventative measures like CDD, and the crimes those measures are intended to prevent and detect such as people trafficking and the wildlife trade. [1 March 2021]

FATF statement on jurisdictions under increased monitoring, high-risk jurisdictions subject to a call for action FATF has published a statement advising that jurisdictions under increased monitoring are actively working with FATF to address strategic deficiencies in their regimes to counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing. FATF has also issued a call for action relating to all countries identified as high-risk. The FATF calls on all members and urges all jurisdictions to apply enhanced due diligence, and in the most serious cases, countries are called upon to apply counter-measures to protect the international financial system from the ongoing ML/TF and proliferation financing risks emanating from certain countries. [25 Feb 2020]

FATF: Outcomes of Plenaries, 21 - 23 October 2020 and 22 – 25 February 2021

The FATF has published the outcomes of its Plenaries held between 21 and 23 October 2020 and 22 and 25 February 2021. Both events saw discussions on various strategic initiatives and country-specific processes. [23 Oct 2020, 25 February 2021]

FATF: Consolidated Processes and Procedures for Mutual Evaluations and Follow-Up

The FATF has published the procedures that are the basis for its fourth round of mutual evaluations, and its Consolidated Processes and Procedures for Mutual Evaluations and Follow-Up that set out that core elements that form the basis for all evaluations, as amended January 2021. [19 February 2021]

FATF releases latest consolidated assessment ratings

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has issued its latest consolidated assessment ratings document - current as of 18 February 2021 - which provides an overview of the ratings of both effectiveness and technical compliance for all countries assessed against the 2012 FATF Recommendations and using the 2013 Assessment Methodology. [18 Feb 2021]

Covid-19: FATF Executive Secretary on ML/TF landscape and RegTech

FATF has published the speech delivered by Executive Secretary David Lewis at the MENA RegTech Virtual Executive Boardroom, in which he discussed the ML/TF risk that have emerged as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and stressed that Covid-19 has been and should be a catalyst for the adoption of regulatory technology (RegTech), and more efficient and effective anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) measures. [18 Jan 2021]

Covid-19: FATF update on ML/TF risks

FATF has released an update to its report - first issued in May 2020 - on Covid-19-related ML/TF risks and policy responses. The update details how criminals continue to exploit the vulnerabilities that Covid-19 has created, and includes case studies on how the risks have evolved during Covid-19 and how authorities have dealt with them. [16 Dec 2020]

FATF/Egmont Group report: 'Trade-based Money Laundering: Trends and Developments'

FATF and the Egmont Group have published a report which aims to help the public and private sector deal with the challenges of detecting trade-based money laundering. FATF has also published the opening remarks made by President Marcus Pleyer at the Trade-Based Money Laundering Press Conference, which highlight some of the key elements of the report. [9 Dec 2020]

FATF: Survey on enhancing cross-border payments

FATF published a survey (to which responses were requested by 15 January 2021) in collaboration with the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), on enhancing cross-border payments. In particular, FATF sought responses from banks, payment service providers, FinTech companies, money or value transfer services providers, and other stakeholders. [1 Dec 2020]

FATF: President Pleyer speech at IMPA

FATF has released the speech delivered by President Marcus Pleyer at the annual Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority (IMPA) conference, in which Mr Pleyer detailed FATF's work programme and Israel's role in tackling ML/TF. [1 Dec 2020]

FATF: Joint Experts’ Meeting 23 - 26 November 2020

FATF hosted the four-day annual Joint Experts' Meeting between 23 and 26 November 2020, at which government experts and experts from international organisations, the private sector and civil society shared views and insights in relation to topics such as the financing of ethnically or radically motivated terrorism; environmental crime; illicit arms trafficking and terrorist financing; and digital transformation. The discussions will inform FATF's ongoing work. [26 Nov 2020]

FATF: President Pleyer remarks at G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, G20 leaders reiterate support

FATF has published the remarks delivered by President Marcus Pleyer at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, in which Mr Pleyer emphasised that FATF remains committed to working with the G20 to help authorities stop money illicitly following out of economies. G20 leaders participating in the Riyadh Summit also reiterated their support of FATF as the global standard-setting body to prevent money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing. [20 Nov 2020]

FATF updates standards to reflect counter-proliferation financing amendments

FATF has published an updated version of its Recommendations to reflect amendments to Recommendations 1 (Assessing risks and applying a risk-based approach) and 2 (National co-operation and co-ordination) and the related interpretative notes, with a view to strengthening counter-proliferation financing. FATF expects all countries and regions to take steps to ensure implementation of these new obligations at the national level. [28 Oct 2020]

FATF: President Pleyer Statement on AML/CTF regimes during the Covid-19

FATF has published a statement by President Marcus Pleyer on the importance of allocating sufficient resources to AML/CFT regimes during Covid-19. [23 Oct 2020]