Tue, Feb 26, 2019 - Page 11 News List

Ministry hopes for better money-laundering review

EYEING ‘SUBSANTIAL’:Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang said that Taiwan hopes to improve its score in the peer review evaluation to reach ‘regular follow-up’ status

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan is hoping to earn an improved score when an evaluation team from the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering returns for a four-day follow-up review next month, a Ministry of Justice official said.

It will be an opportunity for Taiwan to improve its preliminary results from a mutual evaluation by the group during a third round of a peer review conducted from Nov. 5 to Nov. 16 last year, Vice Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said.

The group uses a “mutual evaluation,” or peer review, to assess the degree to which its members comply with international standards in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

A bad score can hurt the reputation of a country’s financial sector and put it at a major disadvantage in engaging in international finance.

The third round peer review has four possible outcomes — “regular follow-up,” “enhanced follow-up,” “transitional follow-up list” and “non-cooperation” — with “regular follow-up” the best, said Chen, who also heads the Executive Yuan’s Anti-Money Laundering Office.

Taiwan’s preliminary result from the previous evaluation was between “regular follow-up” and “enhanced follow-up,” Chen said, and the nation hopes to improve its score at next month’s assessment to reach “regular follow-up” status.

One way for Taiwan to make the “regular follow-up” list would be to get at least five “substantial” ratings in 11 categories used to measure a country’s effectiveness in fighting money laundering and terrorist financing, office officials said.

Each category is rated “high,” “substantial,” “moderate” or “low” effectiveness.

Following the November evaluation, Taiwan had reached “substantial” ratings in four categories: understanding money laundering and terrorist financing risks; international cooperation; appropriately using financial intelligence information for money laundering and terrorist financing investigations; and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, officials said.

After Taiwan tries to improve its score next month, a final report is to be produced at the end of the month, with the final report to be passed at the group’s annual meeting in July or August to become official, Chen said.

Taiwan was placed in the “regular follow-up” list in 2007, requiring it to report back two years after the evaluation.

However, the nation in 2011 was demoted to “enhanced follow-up,” requiring it to report back one year after the evaluation.

It was then placed on the “transitional follow-up list” in 2014 after making some improvements and was removed from that list on July 20, 2017.

If a member country lands on the lowest-tier “non-cooperation” list, it could face sanctions.

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