Sun, Feb 21, 2016 - Page 13 News List

FATF urges more scrutiny of Iranian money laundering

Reuters, WASHINGTON

An international anti-money-laundering group wants government financial intelligence agencies to give extra scrutiny to transactions and business relationships involving Iran.

The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday said that it remained “particularly and exceptionally concerned” about what it called Iran’s “failure to address the risk of terrorist financing and the serious threat this poses to the integrity of the international financial system.”

In the wake of the relaxation of international financial and trade sanctions against Iran following a US-led international accord last year that limited Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange, the transaction network SWIFT reconnected several Iranian banks, allowing them to resume cross border transactions with foreign banks.

However, the FATF urged its member agencies to tell financial institutions to continue to give “special attention’ to dealings and transactions with Iranian companies and banks.

The FATF also called on Iran to step up its own anti-money laundering efforts by “criminalizing terrorist financing” and putting in place the kind system for reporting suspicious financial transactions to central governments which the FATF members have instituted.

The FATF said that if Iran did not step up its anti-money laundering efforts, it would consider asking its members to strengthen “countermeasures” directed at Iran, as soon as June.

FATF also expressed concern about “significant deficiencies” in North Korea's systems. It specifically warned member agencies to “protect against correspondent relationships being used to bypass or evade counter-measures” and to be wary when considering requests to allow North Korean financial institutions to open branches or subsidiaries in their nations.

FATF also said it welcomed efforts by Algeria, Angola and Panama to tighten their anti-money laundering precautions, but added it assessed that there are “strategic deficiencies” in the anti-money laundering efforts of Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Guyana, Iraq, Laos, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Syria, Uganda, Vanuatu and Yemen.

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