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Gib heads to Paris for FATF plenary, with all eyes on grey list

Photo by Eyleen Gomez

A plenary session of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will be addressed today by a delegation from Gibraltar, against the background of ongoing work to remove the Rock from the international organisation’s ‘grey list’ of high-risk countries.

Today’s session comes after over a year’s work to see Gibraltar delisted, with current and former ministers for finance confident the Rock will soon be removed.

The Minister for Justice, Trade and Industry, Nigel Feetham, will attend the session in Paris today, which will be headed by its President T. Raja Kumar, and will assess inroads made so far.

It is hoped Gibraltar will be invited to host an onsite inspection, which is the final step before being delisted.

Gibraltar was placed on the FATF list by the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog in June 2022 following a MONEYVAL mutual evaluation report that contained 78 recommended actions.

All but two of those actions had been complied with, resulting in an agreed action plan to address the two outstanding points.

Progress on that work is confidential but In recent months former Minister for Finance, Albert Isola, and later Mr Feetham have expressed confidence that Gibraltar would soon be removed from the list of high-risk countries.

Mr Feetham has previously said he is “absolutely confident” Gibraltar will in a position to be delisted early next year.

At the time he said this was a “confident prediction” and, if wrong, he would offer his resignation to Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo.

Earlier this week, Mr Feetham addressed finance industry professionals in various conferences and lunches as part of Gibraltar Day in London.

He highlighted potential for growth in the financial services sector, adding that Gibraltar is seeking a swift removal for the list.

“I understand what needs to be done to remove us from the grey list and will be travelling this week to Paris to attend the Plenary session this Friday,” Mr Feetham told industry professionals in London.

“As I have said publicly, I am confident that we will be removed from this list very soon.”

“I want to bring about change for the betterment of our industry.”

“Build on the foundations laid by those that have come before me.”

During the election campaign earlier this month Mr Isola said he hoped the onsite inspection would take place in December, and that Gibraltar would be delisted by “very early next year”.

The listing has meant Gibraltar has been subject to increased monitoring and anyone doing business with the Rock would have faced closer scrutiny from regulators and entities in other jurisdictions.

Gibraltar was included alongside countries such as Albania, Barbados, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Haiti, Jamaica, Jordan, Mali, Morocco, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Senegal, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Today delegates representing the FATF Global Network of over 200 member jurisdictions and observer organisations will be in attendance.

This includes international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the World Bank, INTERPOL and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units who will discuss important issues such as crowdfunding for terrorist financing, illicit financial flows from cyber-enabled fraud and work to strengthen the standards to prevent the misuse of non-profit organisations and improve asset recovery.

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