Qatar set to be 9th Mena country to complete latest FATF ass...| MENAFN.COM

Thursday, 19 May 2022 02:18 GMT

Qatar set to be 9th Mena country to complete latest FATF assessment: Official


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Lani Rose R Dizon | The Peninsula

Qatar which is currently undergoing the fourth round of mutual evaluation and assessment by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is set to be the ninth country in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region to complete the latest rounds of evaluation by the global financial watchdog, according to an official.

Speaking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the FinTech Summit Middle East which concluded in Doha recently, Dr. Kateryna Boguslavska, Project Manager for Basel AML Index at the Basel Institute's International Centre for Asset Recovery, said the FATF's evaluation process is still going on in the country, and it would be difficult to predict when the evaluation will be completed especially amid the ongoing global pandemic.

“But the process for the assessment is going on in Qatar. Once the results, which will be in the form of the mutual evaluation report, are brought to the plenary session of the FATF and approved, they will also be publicly released. To date, about 120 countries, including eight in the Middle East, have already been evaluated globally by the FATF. And many more countries are still under evaluation,” she added.

Boguslavska reiterated the importance of being well rated by the FATF, which sets the global international standards on anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT), as this also affects investment prospects for countries being evaluated.

In her presentation earlier during the event, Boguslavska reiterated that countries globally are doing much better in enforcing actions against financial crimes, rather than preventing financial crime.

“Based on FATF data, in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, we see prevention rate at 32 percent and 40 percent rate on the enforcement. We also see that countries globally do much better when it comes to technical compliance. They have good rules and legal infrastructures at 64 percent. But when it comes to implementation of the rules, we see them faring twice lower at 30 percent effectiveness rate only. Globally, the supervision and sanctions against financial crimes are not enough,” Boguslavska said.

To date, Mena countries which have already completed the fourth round of mutual evaluations by the FATF include Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia, and Israel. 

“Morocco and Jordan are listed in the grey FATF list, which means they are listed as high risk countries, and it has a negative impact on investments,” said Boguslavska. 

She added:“The interesting thing about the Mena region is that it demonstrates 35 percent in effectiveness in the implementation of the rules, which is higher than the global average of 30 percent, while it has 67 percent rate in technical compliance in having good legal frameworks. And this is a good sign. But again, this is data for only eight countries in the region”.

According to the FATF report, the highest effectiveness of the evaluated Mena countries is demonstrated in the investigation and prosecution of terrorist financing offenses. 

It also reiterated that financial intelligence is appropriately used in the countries assessed.

However, the lowest effectiveness in the Mena countries is demonstrated in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the investigation and prosecution of money laundering offenses.

Boguslavska went on to speak about Qatar's standing based on data from the Basel AML Index, which also evaluates countries on several indicators including corruption, public transparency, financial transparency, and political and legal risks in the country.

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