Economy, Business And Markets

No Outside Pressure in FATF Advisories

No Outside Pressure in FATF Advisories No Outside Pressure in FATF Advisories

In response to ambiguities concerning the status of Iran in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the general manager of the anti-money-laundering division of the Central Bank of Iran said potential excessive demands will be met with surefooted action, while assuring that no personal account information will change hands between countries.

At its Friday meeting, FATF (an international group that monitors money laundering worldwide) decided to keep Iran on its blacklist of high-risk countries but welcomed Iranian promises to improve in the areas of AML and CFT and called for a one-year suspension of some restrictions on Tehran.

The issue was debated by supporters and opponents alike. In a talk with Tasnim News Agency, Abdolmehdi Arjmandnejad offered insights into the matter.

“FATF suggestions regarding financing of terrorism do not go into details nor recommend certain do’s and don’ts. They are only about standards that countries should hold themselves accountable to and that is why  from among  198 countries that implement its recommendations, Iran allies like Syria and Iraq are also included,” said Arjmandnejad.

According to the official, the most important advice that FATF has to offer regarding terrorism financing is that it should be treated as a serious criminal activity, but “countries are only obliged to execute their internal laws and are not bound to implement laws pertaining to any other country or institution.

If anyone is found guilty of bankrolling terrorism in Iran, the country’s judiciary will look into the matter and do the needful. No outside country or entity can intervene or exert power or pressure in such a situation.”

FATF also pushes for resolutions 1267 and 1373 of the United Nations – concerning Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS – to be abided by. It calls for professions and instruments that have been proven to be attractive for financiers of terrorism to be identified. “Therefore when a country generally applies these guidelines, then the FATF advice will have been heeded.”

  Enshrined Principles  

Naming Iran as one of the main victims of terrorism in the world, the CBI head of anti-money-laundering division expressed the hope that by benefiting from the advice – which are effectively the collective experience of countries around the globe – and identifying which banking and non-banking tools are used by the terrorists and what professions they employ as cover, Iran “can empower its system of battling terrorism financing and turn the country into a living hell for the terrorists.”

International cooperation in the area of AML/CTF calls for exchange of information. Answering a question about whether or not this exchange would include information on personal bank accounts, Arjmandnejad said: “It must firstly be noted that cooperation on an international level between countries does not entail an exchange of personal account data.” He further reassured that personal account information cannot even be passed around by domestic institutions without due process.

“When it comes to collaboration on a global level, this will be further emphasized and countries can only exchange information or work together based on their own internal rules and regulations, and within the confines of signed agreements” he concluded.