23/04/2015 - Belgium has the core elements of a sound anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) regime, although some elements are not yet fully in line with the 2012 FATF Recommendations, according to a new report by the Financial Action Task Force.
The Mutual Evaluation Report of Belgium notes that Belgium has established a system for assessing the money laundering and terrorist financing risks. It uses an understanding of these risks as a basis for developing AML/CFT activities and has done so for a number of years. Understanding of risk and the implementation of AML/CFT measures and controls varies per sector however.
Some sectors, such as the financial sector, are much stronger in taking appropriate action to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing, while some money value transfer service providers do not have a full understanding or a complete implementation of AML/CFT measures. The non-financial sector has improved its commitment to AML/CFT; however, certain relevant businesses and professions, such professions as lawyers and casinos, have not yet taken action. Implementation of AML/CFT measures by diamond dealers does not appear to be adequate in relation to the high-risk identified for the sector.
Belgian authorities take appropriate action to prosecute money laundering cases. The financial intelligence unit (CTIF-CFI) collects and analyses quality data but needs to work more closely with some AML/CFT supervisors in addressing identified risks. Law enforcement authorities have the necessary investigative measures. Nevertheless, a lack of resources – especially within the criminal prosecution authorities -- means that more complex and sophisticated money laundering cases are not always successfully investigated and prosecuted.
The authorities responsible for preventing and combatting terrorist financing and terrorism have a good understanding of the risks the country currently faces. They play an active role in countering terrorist financing and demonstrated a high level of co-ordination, including with competent authorities in neighbouring countries. Weaknesses exist however in the application of targeted financial sanctions that are designed to prevent terrorist and terrorist organisations from financing their activities.
The FATF is the global body responsible for setting and monitoring international standards on combatting money laundering and terrorist financing. An FATF mutual evaluation is a year-long peer review process conducted by an international panel of experts. The mutual evaluation report gives a detailed summary of Belgium’s AML/CFT regime and assesses Belgium’s level of compliance with the FATF Recommendations. It also includes recommendations to Belgium on needed improvements.
For further information, journalists are invited to contact Alexandra Wijmenga-Daniel (tel. 33 1 45 24 95 23) in the Financial Action Task Force.