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FATF to send onsite visit to Gibraltar, final step to removal from grey list

Photo via FATF

The Financial Action Task Force, the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, confirmed on Friday it would send an onsite inspection team to Gibraltar, the final step toward removing the Rock from its ‘grey list’ of high-risk jurisdictions.

The inspection is likely to take place in the coming weeks and, assuming everything is in order, Gibraltar could be removed from the grey list at the FATF’s next plenary meeting in February, 2024.

Gibraltar was placed on the FATF list in June 2022 even after complying with all but two of the 98 recommendations made in a MONEYVAL mutual evaluation report.

The FATF confirmed the latest step in a statement issued on Friday after the plenary session in Paris, which had been addressed earlier that day by Nigel Feetham, the Minister for Justice, Trade and Industry.

“In June 2022, Gibraltar made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and MONEYVAL to strengthen the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime,” the FATF said.

“At its October 2023 Plenary, the FATF made the initial determination that Gibraltar has substantially completed its action plan and warrants an on-site assessment to verify that the implementation of AML/CFT reforms has begun and is being sustained and that the necessary political commitment remains in place to sustain implementation in the future.”

“Gibraltar has made the following key reforms, including: (1) applying effective, proportionate, and dissuasive sanctions for AML/CFT breaches in non-bank financial institutions and DNFBPs sectors; and (2) pursuing final confiscation judgments commensurate with the risk and context of Gibraltar.”

The news will be welcomed in Gibraltar, where the government and the private sector have worked intensely for over a year to address all the recommendations made in the MONEYVAL report.

“Everyone in Gibraltar will be delighted by this news and warmly welcome this highly positive outcome,” Mr Feetham said.

“I wish to thank all of those authorities who have worked tirelessly in this process and continue to support us in our work to address these action points and remove Gibraltar from the grey list at the earliest possible opportunity.”

“We now look forward to welcoming the inspectors for the onsite visit in the coming months and the subsequent confirmation by FATF of Gibraltar’s removal from the grey list in February 2024.”

“We have totally committed to this process, and look forward to continuing to engage with the FATF as we further develop our strategies in our fight against economic crime.”

Reacting to the news, GSD MP Roy Clinton said: “I am of course pleased that the FATF have determined that Gibraltar warrants an on-site visit as part of the delisting process.”

“As a jurisdiction it is crucial that everything is done to ensure that the on-site visit is positive and Gibraltar is removed from the grey list.”

“I trust the minister will make a statement to Parliament at the first opportunity.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: The headline of this article has been changed to better reflect the significance of the step. Additionally, the date of the next plenary has been corrected.

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