Riyadh, The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Plenary Meeting agreed to grant the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia a full membership of the group at the plenary meeting held in Orlando, USA, during the period 19-21 / 6 / 2019. The Kingdom is the first Arab country to obtain this membership.
The Kingdom's accession comes as the FATF celebrates its 30th anniversary and held its first meeting in Paris, France in 1989. The approval came after the submission of reports on the tangible progress made by the Kingdom, which outlined the measures and efforts the Kingdom has made in implementing the Action Plan approved by the FATF
It is worth noting that the Kingdom is a founding member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force since November 2004. In 2015,the Kingdom received an invitation from the FATF to join the Group as an observer. The invitation was made in recognition of the Kingdom's international and regional status, its efforts and measures in the field of combating money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation, its compliance with international standards and requirements, and its commitment to all relevant international and bilateral conventions.
The Kingdom obtained an observer status in the Group in June 2015. In June 2018, the Kingdom completed the mutual evaluation process. It proved the effectiveness and efficiency of the control measures carried out by the relevant authorities in the Kingdom in the field of combating money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation. The results revealed the high level of effectiveness and efficiency of the control procedures.
The Kingdom's accession to the FATF is in line with its efforts and financial and economic programs to achieve 2030 vision, which contributes to supporting the development of the national economy and enhancing the efficiency of the financial sector, which is one of the important objectives of the Financial Sector Development Program under the leadership of the Ministry of Finance.
With the accession of the Kingdom as a full member, the number of FATF members increased to 39 full members, including the most influential countries in the world, such as the permanent members of the Security Council and most countries of the G-20.
The Kingdom's accession to the FATF will enhance its role in international forums and contribute in highlighting its efforts in the field of combating money laundering, financing of terrorism and proliferation; and creating more geographical balance of the FATF member states as an active representative of the Middle East and North Africa region.
In addition, the Kingdom's sharing of its expertise and experience with the member countries of the FATF will contribute to the development and enhancement of the global
system to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation.
The Kingdom's accession to the Financial Action Task Force will contribute to enhancing the capabilities and expertise of specialists in the Kingdom through direct access to the experiences and expertise of developed countries, participating in discussions at the FATF's plenary meetings and in the work and activities of the working groups
Ahmed Alkholifey, Governor of Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and Chairman of the Anti-Money Laundering Permanent Committee (AMLPC), chaired the Saudi delegation participating in the FATF Plenary Meeting. On this occasion, Alkholifey has congratulated the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince on the Kingdom's accession to the FATF as a full member, pointing out to the unlimited support provided by the leadership in this regard, which will undoubtedly add to the record of achievements and accomplishments of the Kingdom.
The Governor has also valued the efforts, cooperation and coordination between all authorities concerned with Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation and related committees in the Kingdom which greatly contributed to the Kingdom's success in the mutual evaluation and access as a full member of the FATF Alkholifey explained that the achievement made by the Kingdom is a recognition of the great achievements that Saudi Arabia had in the field of money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation.
Overview of the Anti-Money Laundering Permanent Committee (AMLPC)
The Anti-Money Laundering Permanent Committee was established by the Council of Ministers Resolution No. (15) dated 17/1/1420 H (3/5 / 1999G). AMLPC is based in the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), and it is chaired by the Governor. AMLPC membership includes 13 government agencies, namely, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Commerce and Investment, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Da'wah and Guidance the Presidency of State Security, the Public Prosecution, the General Intelligence Presidency, General Authority of Customs, Capital Market Authority, Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA).
The AMLPC represents the Kingdom in the meetings of the FATF, MENAFATF and other relevant international bodies and organizations. The FATF is responsible for issuing international standards, policies and best practices related to the fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation, including ensuring their application by all States in the world.
AMLPC is cooperating with other relevant permanent committees such as the Permanent Committee for Combating Terrorism and its Financing in the Presidency of State Security, the Permanent Committee for Requests for Mutual Legal Assistance in the Ministry of the Interior and the Permanent Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Implementing Security Council Resolutions issued pursuant to Chapter VII.
The purpose is to ensure consistency and harmonization of anti-money-laundering policies with policies in other areas AMLPC undertook the responsibility for coordinating the first mutual assessment process conducted for the Kingdom in 2004 by the FATF. AMLPC was also responsible for the second mutual evaluation in 2010 conducted by a joint assessment team of the FATF and MENAFATF.
The results of these two assessments showed the significant progress made by the Kingdom in adopting and implementing the recommendations issued in the field of AML and CFT, AMLPC has also worked with other authorities concerned to improve the legislative environment in the Kingdom by proposing amendments to several laws, regulations and rules that would contribute to combating these crimes effectively.
The most recent of these are the Anti-Money Laundering Law (issued in October 2017) and Counter Terrorism Financing Law (issued in November 2017), the Anti-Money Laundering Implementation Regulations (issued in November 2017), Combating Terrorist Crimes and Its Financing Implementation.
Regulations (issued in January 2019) and the recent guidance manuals issued by some stakeholders.
In cooperation with the other Permanent Committees, AMLPC has also prepared the National Strategic Objectives to Combat Money Laundering, the Financing of Terrorism, and the National Action Plan for the Implementation of these Objectives, which were approved by the Council of Ministers in accordance with Resolution No. 42 of 15/1/1440 H. The main objectives are to continue to develop and strengthen the AML and CFT framework in the Kingdom.
Source: Saudi Press Agency