Africa: Global Terror Financing Watchdog, FATF, Adds Turkey On 'Grey List'

24 October 2021

Abuja — A few days after the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, solicited for Nigeria's collaboration with his country in the fight against terrorism, the global finance watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has added Turkey to the 'grey list' over its failure to make sufficient efforts to fight money laundering and terrorism financing.

Mali and Jordan were also added to the 22-nation grey list.

FATF also outlined what it called a "multi-pronged approach" to collection of beneficial ownership information in a direct response to the recent Pandora Papers in which a number of prominent Nigerians featured in.

The inclusion of Turkey, Mali and Jordan on the grey list means that they will now be subjected to increased monitoring, alongside others, including Albania, Barbados, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Haiti, Jamaica, Malta, Morocco, Myanmar and Nicaragua.

Others are Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Senegal, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

FATF, an inter-governmental body, is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, which sets international standards that aim to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing.

FATF's action at the weekend in Paris, France greylisting Turkey, Mali and Jordan came a few days after Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan sought Nigeria's partnership with his country in the fight against terrorism.

Erdogan, who was on a visit to Nigeria,

had declared that the terror organisation, Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO), which was responsible for the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt against his government, was still active in Nigeria.

FATF Chair, Marcus Pleyer, had in a statement after a three-day plenary in Paris at the weekend, announced that Turkey, Jordan and Mali had been greylisted, while Botswana and Mauritius were dropped off the list.

Pleyer also said there is an increase in the number of countries under close monitoring.

Alluding to the Law No. 7262 on the Prevention of the Financing of the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which had been recently introduced in Turkey, Pleyer indicated that FATF was aware of the concerns of the human rights organisations.

Noting that FATF was aware of concerns over Turkey's treatment of non-profit organisations (NPOs), Pleyer said: "Turkey needs to implement a true risk-based approach to NPOs and ensure authorities don't disrupt or discourage legitimate activity."

According to him, "Turkey needs to show it is effectively tackling complex money laundering cases and show it is pursuing terrorist financing prosecutions, and prioritising cases of UN-designated terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Qaeda."

On the Pandora Papers, FATF said: "Recent revelations in the Pandora Papers once again underscore the importance of ensuring transparency about the true beneficial ownership of companies to stop criminals from hiding their illicit activities and proceeds behind complex corporate structures."

These revelations, it stated, echo the results of FATF's mutual evaluations and other major investigations that countries need to do more to ensure that information on beneficial ownership is available and up to date.

In June 2021, FATF issued a white paper for public consultation on potential amendments in key policy areas to strengthen the requirements of Recommendation 24 on the transparency of beneficial ownership of legal persons.

The input received informed proposed changes to the language of Recommendations 24, its interpretive note and the glossary, which the FATF Plenary approved for public consultation.

The FATF Plenary said it welcomed views on these proposed amendments, which are published on the FATF website, "in particular on the multi-pronged approach to collection of beneficial ownership information, measures to prevent the abuse of bearer shares and nominee arrangements, the risk-based approach and access to accurate, adequate and up-to-date information on beneficial ownership by competent authorities".

FATF's consulation ranges across measures to prevent the abuse of bearer shares and nominee arrangements, the risk-based approach and access to accurate, adequate and up-to-date information on beneficial ownership by competent authorities.

It specifically proposed that countries be required to assess the Anti Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) risks associated with foreign-created legal persons and take steps to manage and mitigate them.

With more than 200 countries and jurisdictions committed to implementing them, the FATF has developed the FATF Recommendations or FATF Standards, which ensure a co-ordinated global response to prevent organised crime, corruption and terrorism.

FATF helps authorities go after the money of criminals dealing in illegal drugs, human trafficking and other crimes.

It also works to stop funding for weapons of mass destruction.

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