At June Plenary, FATF Takes Important Steps To Fight Corruption, Improve Transparency
WASHINGTON – Today in Berlin, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) concluded the last Plenary under the German presidency and produced policy recommendations to strengthen efforts to combat corruption and the misuse of virtual assets. The FATF again condemned the Russian war against Ukraine and, in an unprecedented step, took action to restrict Russia’s FATF membership privileges.
FATF members agreed to severely limit the Russian Federation’s role and influence within the FATF. In particular, FATF members decided that the Russian Federation can no longer hold any leadership or advisory roles or take part in decision-making on standard-setting, FATF peer-review processes, governance and membership matters. The Russian Federation can also no longer provide assessors, reviewers or other experts for FATF peer-review processes. The FATF will monitor the situation and consider at each of its Plenary meetings whether grounds exist for modifying these restrictions.
“At its core, the FATF is committed to the values of international cooperation and the protection of international security and stability. By waging its unprovoked war on Ukraine, Russia violated these core standards and I welcome the serious steps the FATF took to restrict Russia’s presence in its community,” said Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen. “I also welcome the important work on other topics at the June plenary, including the misuse of legal entities, real estate, and corruption. The actions taken today will empower governments to shine a light on the money incentivizing corruption and illicit activity around the world.”
The Biden Administration is committed to rooting out corruption and denying its proceeds to those who abuse positions of trust. The Plenary responded to the FATF Ministers’ call for action on corruption with expanded work aimed at strengthening the regulatory and law enforcement framework used to identify and combat corrupt actors and illicit funds.
FATF members reached important milestones on work to combat the abuse of shell companies, trusts, and other legal arrangements by corrupt actors seeking to mask their illicit dealings. FATF members agreed to seek input from external stakeholders on guidance to implement revised Recommendation 24, which concerns the collection and verification of beneficial ownership information for companies and other legal entities. FATF members also agreed to publish a white paper for public consultation on key issues related to the misuse of trusts and other legal arrangements to facilitate illicit finance. Treasury strongly supports the FATF’s resolve to foster greater transparency by encouraging the disclosure of beneficial ownership information, particularly as a tool to combat corruption.
The FATF agreed to release new guidance on how governments and firms can mitigate the risks of money laundering through the real estate sector, and approved proposals for new workshops and reports on asset recovery as well as the risks associated with the misuse of Citizenship by Investment and Residency by Investment schemes by kleptocrats and other corrupt actors.
The FATF adopted a report on virtual assets, which called for accelerated compliance by the public and private sectors with the FATF standards, particularly the “travel rule,” for virtual assets and virtual asset service providers. The Plenary also approved a new project on ransomware finance and related money laundering, which largely occurs in virtual assets. The primary objective of this project is to raise global awareness and understanding of how payments for ransomware are made, and how the proceeds of ransomware attacks are laundered.