Spain has strong measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing but improvements needed, says FATF

Paris, 5 December 2014, Spain has created a strong system to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, but improvements are needed in certain key areas, according to a new report by the Financial Action Task Force.

In its Mutual Evaluation of Spain, the FATF said the country faces a range of money laundering risks, including organised crime and drug trafficking, as well as ongoing threats from terrorism and terrorist financing.

The FATF found Spain has up-to-date laws and regulations and sound institutions for combatting  such threats, in particular a strong financial intelligence unit. There have been significant successes in investigating and prosecuting money laundering but the terms of imprisonment imposed are low, the report said.  

Although Spanish authorities have been effective in disrupting the financing of terrorist groups, weaknesses remain in the implementation of targeted financial sanctions to allow the freezing of terrorism-related assets.  

The anti-money laundering measures applied by banks and notaries are strong, particularly Spain’s system for preventing the misuse of companies. However, implementation in other sectors is variable.

The President of the FATF, Roger Wilkins, said:

We congratulate Spain on the progress it has made since its 2006 Evaluation. The Spanish government has made great efforts to update its laws and institutions to deal with money laundering and terrorist financing.  This FATF evaluation recognises that, overall, their approach is working.  But of course, there is always more to do, and the FATF has highlighted a number of priority actions for Spain to take.

The FATF is the global body responsible for setting and monitoring international standards on combatting money laundering and the financing of terrorism. A FATF Mutual Evaluation is a year-long peer-review conducted by an international panel of experts. The Mutual Evaluation Report provides a detailed and complete assessment of Spain’s system to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, and assesses Spain’s level of compliance with the FATF Recommendations. The report also includes recommendations to Spain on the improvements needed.

Spain’s evaluation, which looks at measures ranging from law enforcement to financial supervision, is the first comprehensive review of a country’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing system and the first to be completed using the revised FATF Recommendations adopted in 2012.

The full report is available at: www.fatf-gafi.org/countries/s-t/spain/documents/mer-spain-2014.html  

For further information, journalists are invited to contact Alexandra Wijmenga-Daniel (tel. 33 1 45 24 95 23) at the Financial Action Task Force Secretariat.