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FATF may add up to two MEA countries to its "grey list" this week

Today, there were rumors that up to two MEA countries could join FATF's "grey list".

The Financial Action Task Force is holding a weeklong summit in Paris.

Delegates will determine whether countries should be added to the agency's watchlist or removed from it.

Two key economies from the Middle East/Africa (MEA) area were rumored to be added to the so-called "grey list" today.

A number of countries consider that neither country has met the anti-financial crime requirements necessary to be deemed FATF-compliant.

Yet, if any or both are added to the watchlist, it is likely to have significant political and geopolitical repercussions that will weigh on the minds of decision-makers.

One of the countries is an economic powerhouse that has been the subject of speculation, notably within its own AFC community, due to pervasive corruption.

"Ultimately this will be a political decision. Can delegates weather the storm of putting one major economy on the watchlist? Adding a second one is justified on paper but will delegates leave themselves open to accusations of bias if they make the decision,"  according to an insider.

Malta was the only European country to be placed on the watchlist, although it was removed a year later.

Earlier this year, the Council of Europe's AML agency, MONEYVAL, issued a scathing appraisal of Monaco's fincrime measures as part of its investigation of the country.

"Many delegates will be asking themselves can we add up to two MEA countries to the ‘grey list’ while a European country like Monaco with miserable AFC measures is not on the list? But process is process and adding the two countries is justified, whether it happens is another matter," a source said.


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