Saudi Arabia becomes 1st Arab country to get full FATF membership

Saudi Arabia has become 1st Arab country to be granted full membership of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) following FATF’s Annual General Meeting held in Orlando, Florida in United States (US).

Saudi Arabia and FATF

Background: Since November 2004, Saudi Arabia has been a founding member of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) arm of FATF group. At the beginning of 2015 Saudi Arabia had received an invitation from FATF as an observer member.

Now, the kingdom’s accession came as global money laundering watchdog celebrated 30th anniversary of its 1st meeting held in Paris (France) in 1989.

The full membership to Saudi Arabia comes after it was reported that Kingdom had made tangible progress for its efforts in implementing FATF’s guidelines.

What is FATF?

It was established in 1989, with headquarters in Paris, France.

Members: FATF comprises of 37-member jurisdictions and 2 Regional Organisations namely Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and European Commission (EC). With kingdom becoming a FATF member, the number of permanent members in group is now 39.

FATF Plenary: is FATF’s decision making body. It meets three times per year.

Function: The Financial Action Task Force is an international group responsible for issuing international standards, policies and best practices for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation and other related threats to integrity of international financial system.

Recent Developments: FATF has notified that Pakistan failed to complete its action plan on terror financing and has strongly urged Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan by October 2019 or else face consequences.

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