Monaco added to money laundering ‘grey list’

Global anti-money laundering watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said Friday it had added Monaco to a “grey list” of countries subject to increased monitoring, despite making “significant progress” on certain aspects of its fight against money laundering. 

At a plenary meeting in Singapore, the FATF also added Venezuela to the list of nations considered to have “strategic deficiencies” in countering money laundering and terrorist financing, while however cooperating with the FATF to correct the problems.

When the FATF places a jurisdiction under increased monitoring, it means the country has committed to implement an Action Plan to resolve swiftly the identified strategic deficiencies within agreed timeframes.

“Since the adoption of its mutual evaluation report (MER) in December 2022, Monaco has made significant progress on several of the MER’s recommended actions including by establishing a new combined financial intelligence unit (FIU) and AML/CFT supervisor, strengthening its approach to detecting and investigating terrorism financing, implementing targeted financial sanctions and risk-based supervision of non-profit organisations,” said FATF in its report.

However, the FATF identified several areas in which Monaco must make further progress, in particular in terms of money laundering and tax fraud committed abroad. 

The six outstanding issues that Monaco will continue to work with the FATF on in implementing it’s Action Plan are: strengthening the understanding of risk in relation to money laundering and income tax fraud committed abroad; demonstrating a sustained increase in outbound requests to identify and seek the seizure of criminal assets abroad; enhancing the application of sanctions for AML/CFT breaches and breaches of basic and beneficial ownership requirements, completing its resourcing program for its FIU and strengthening the quality and timeliness of STR reporting, enhancing judicial efficiency, including through increasing resources of investigative judges and prosecutors and the application of effective, dissuasive and proportionate sanctions for money laundering, and increasing the seizure of property suspected to derive from criminal activities.

In January 2023, Monaco was pinned by the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering body Moneyval, which was then calling for “fundamental improvements to strengthen the effectiveness of the supervision, investigations and prosecution of money laundering and confiscation of the proceeds of crime”, and in the financing of terrorism.

Since then, nine new laws have been passed by Monaco’s parliament to strengthen the Monegasque Financial Security Authority (AMSF) and the anti-money laundering legal arsenal, strengthening its means of detecting and investigating terrorist financing and putting in place targeted financial sanctions and supervision of non-profit organisations based on a risk assessment.

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