Sunday, July 21, 2024

Monaco, Venezuela placed on global money-laundering watch list

A global financial watchdog has censored Monaco and Venezuela for not doing enough to strengthen their anti-money-laundering and counterterrorist financing systems.

The Financial Action Task Force, a Paris-based intergovernmental body that sets anti-money-laundering law standards, met this week in Singapore and added the two countries to its “gray list” of nations requiring increased monitoring. The FATF said it would work with the two countries to address the deficiencies identified in their anti-money-laundering systems.

The FATF also removed Jamaica and Turkey from the gray list, saying the two nations had made significant progress in improving their anti-money-laundering and counterterrorism financing regimes.

There has been speculation for some time that Monaco would be added to the gray list, according to news reports earlier this year.

Wealthy people from around the world have in recent years flocked to Monaco, one of the smallest sovereign states, because of its favorable tax policies, forking over millions for luxury rental apartments. Some real-estate agents in Monaco said before Friday’s announcement that they expect little impact on the residential market from the principality being added to the gray list.

The FATF said Monaco has made some improvements to its anti-money-laundering regime since December 2022, including through the establishment of a new combined financial intelligence unit and anti-money-laundering supervisor. But the principality still needs to improve in six areas, including its understanding of the risks related to money laundering and income-tax fraud committed abroad, and its implementation of penalties for violations of anti-money-laundering and beneficial ownership requirements, the FATF said.

For Venezuela, the FATF said the country needs to work on issues such as its investigation and prosecution of money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as ensuring its measures to prevent the misuse of nonprofit organizations for terrorism financing aren’t disrupting or discouraging legitimate humanitarian efforts.

Representatives for Monaco’s embassy in Washington and Venezuela’s mission to the United Nations didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The FATF’s plenary also ​marked the end of T. Raja Kumar of Singapore as president of the organization. Elisa de Anda Madrazo of Mexico will take over as FATF president on July 1.

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