New Delhi, July 18
An assessment by the Global Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to analyze the effectiveness of India’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regime has been postponed for the second time due to the Covid pandemic. 19 in progress and should now be launched. next year, officials said.
The assessment planned for the country by the watchdog headquartered in Paris was initially scheduled for September-October 2020.
However, these dates have been postponed and pushed back to February this year by the FATF secretariat in view of the coronavirus epidemic that has hit the world, including India.
“The schedule for the mutual evaluation of the FATF has been postponed again from February 2021, and it is expected to start in September 2022 now,” a senior government official told PTI.
In accordance with this reprogrammed evaluation schedule, the technical evaluation of the fight against money laundering, the fight against the financing of terrorism and the role of the legal framework and the agencies implementing these measures would start in September next year. , followed by an on-site visit by FATF experts. in the country in February 2023, another development official said.
The FATF plenary scheduled to be held in October 2023 will discuss India’s assessment and its mutual assessment report will be released for public consumption after 10 months from the date of the on-site visit (February 2023), a he declared.
The FATF is a global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog that sets international standards to prevent economic and financial crimes in a country with interconnected links across the globe.
It performs “peer reviews of each member on an ongoing basis to assess the levels of implementation of the FATF recommendations and provides an in-depth description and analysis of each country’s system to prevent criminal abuses of the financial system”.
The last such review of India’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regime took place in June 2010 and is typically resumed after a period of 10 years.
The FATF, after this review, said in 2013 that “India has made significant progress in addressing the gaps identified in its mutual evaluation report and (the FATF) decided that the country should be removed from the process of regular monitoring “.
By 2019, India had established a joint working group comprising 22 central investigative, intelligence gathering and regulatory agencies to make presentations, hold discussions and brief FATF experts from various countries, once the process has started.
Some of the main agencies in this group overseen by the Revenue Department under the Union Ministry of Finance include the Enforcement Directorate, the Income Tax Department, the Tax Intelligence Directorate, the Intelligence Unit Financial (FIU), CBI, Customs Department, Market Regulator SEBI, Bank Regulator RBI and Insurance Regulator IRDAI.
The FATF also made a public statement saying that the mutual evaluation dates of some countries, including India, “will be rescheduled as soon as possible”.
“Due to the current coronavirus (Covid-19) emergency, the FATF and FATF-type regional bodies (FSRBs) are implementing precautionary measures that impact scheduled on-site visits and discussions of mutual evaluation. ” “As the situation evolves, this information will be regularly updated but remains subject to further changes,” he said.
It specifically states that India’s possible on-site period is “to be confirmed (to be confirmed)”.
During this assessment, Indian financial regulatory and law enforcement agencies are expected to present their reports and records on actions taken for the enforcement, regulatory and investigative work they have undertaken in connection with the anti-money laundering law, the criminal tax evasion body and for the strengthening of the CFT (fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism).
“The guidelines and rules framed by the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA), their results and strict compliance with Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures are some of the very important aspects which the FATF experts will be informed, ”the officer said. in the last part said.
The promulgation of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act in 2018, the Anti-Black Money Act of 2015, the changes made to the PMLA over the years, the fight against tax evasion under indirect taxes by introducing the GST ( goods and services tax), new protocols to better regulate suspicious transactions in banks and financial intermediaries and the 2016 demonetization of two major currencies are part of the Indian presentation, an officer said last year.
The high number of domestic and international asset seizures and penalties issued under the PMLA, and indictments filed by various investigative agencies under the criminal sections of the Financial Crimes and Funding Law terrorism will also be part of India’s presentation to the FATF review team.
The wide range of offenses ranging from smuggling wildlife to using smart electronic tools to generate black money investigated by Indian agencies will be part of the case, officials said.
The new compliance regime put in place by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) for banks, other financial institutions, casinos and payment gateways to report suspicious transactions and counterfeit currency will also be part of the presentation. – PTI