FATF seeks to criminalise financing 'terror travels'.

 
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Byline: Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON -- The FinanAcial Action Task Force (FATF) urged all member states on Wednesday to criminalise financing of terror-related travels.

The FATF guidelines, issued on Wednesday, include an explicit instruction to 'criminalise the financing of travel for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, preparation of or participation in, terrorist acts, or providing or receiving terrorist training'.

The instructions also urged member states to identify and take measures in relation to any countries with strategic deficiencies for terrorist financing.

'Global safeguards to combat terrorist financing are only as strong as the jurisdiction with the weakest measures,' the statement added, noting that terrorist financiers can 'circumvent weak anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) controls to successfully move assets to finance terrorism through the financial system'.

The FATF guidelines, however, did not name any country.

Instead, the agency urged all jurisdictions to work closely with the FATF regional bodies, and other key partners such as the UN.

It reminded member states that a key objective of the FATF is to continually identify jurisdictions with significant weaknesses in their AML/CFT regimes, and to work with them to address those weaknesses.

The Paris-based monitoring agency has placed Pakistan on its watchlist of high-risk jurisdictions, also known as the grey list. So far, there are only two countries - Iran and North Korea - on the FATF list of non-cooperative jurisdictions, also known as the blacklist.

Last month, the global finance watchdog kept Pakistan off its blacklist but warned Islamabad it only had until February to improve or face international action. The agency pointed out that Pakistan had failed to complete its action plan to combat terrorism financing first by a January deadline, then a May deadline and now October.

Last week, China, which now heads FATF, accused some member countries of pursuing a political agenda against Pakistan.

'China stood with Pakistan and blocked any attempt to place it on the blacklist,' Yao Wen, Deputy Director General for Policy Planning of Asian Affairs, told journalists in Beijing. 'We have made it clear to the United States and India that this goes beyond the purpose of FATF.'

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