Saudi Arabia has become the first Arab country to be granted full membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Arab News reported. This development will have a significant impact on Pakistan who has been grey-listed by FATF and Riyadh could play a vital role in supporting Pakistan.
Saudi Arabia which had received an invitation from FATF at the beginning of 2015 to join as an “observer member”, was admitted into the global money laundering watchdog following the group’s Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Florida.
The FATF while agreeing to admit Saudi Arabia as its newest member, expressed concern at the risks emanating from Iran posed a threat to the international financial system. “The FATF reaffirmed that it will continue to monitor Iran’s Action Plan, and has warned that if by October 2019, Iran does not ratify the Palermo and Terrorist Financing Conventions in line with the FATF standards, then the FATF will re-impose select additional counter-measures on Iran,” a statement issued by the FATF said.
The plenary meeting also said North Korea continues to pose an ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risk to the international financial system. The meeting called on all countries to apply countermeasures to protect their financial sectors from the risks emanating from North Korea.
The US, which completed its presidency of the FATF, said it was looking forward to Saudi Arabia’s active participation and contributions toward advancing the FATF’s goals, Anadolu Agency reported.
With Saudi Arabia becoming a FATF member, the number of permanent members in the group rises to 39.